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Professor Nick Carnes on Working-Class State Legislators, Duke Today

Professor Nick Carnes, alongside collaborator Eric Hansen, Associate Professor of Political Science at Loyola University Chicago, conducted a national study of the occupational backgrounds of state legislators to find that a mere 1% of Republicans and 2% of Democrats come from working-class backgrounds. Carnes stated that, “In principle, anyone can run for office, but in practice, the people who are running and serving are overwhelmingly drawn from America’s professional classes.” Their study used publicly available biographical information for individuals serving in the nation’s 7,386 state legislative seats, and their findings illuminate the disparities between Americans in the labor force and their elected representatives. 

Click here to read more and click here to find the dataset.