Return the House of Representatives to the People

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Legislatures Around the World

It is reasonable to wonder how citizen representation in our House compares with that of other republics (both real and faux) around the world. The smaller the district, the better represented are its citizens. So presumably, the birthplace of freedom would enjoy relatively small representational districts.

Unfortunately, this is not so. The U.S. has larger representational districts than every other nation analyzed. (This is true for both the lower house and the total legislature.) Only India has larger representational districts.

1) The Lower Houses

The U.S. legislature is bicameral, comprised of the Senate (the “upper house”) and the House of Representatives (the “lower house”). These terms are defined in the sidebar to the right.
The chart below compares the representational district size of our House of Representatives with that of the lower houses of nations around the world.
The United States has the second largest legislative districts in the world. Only India has a larger lower house district. How about Russia? At 319,000, their House districts are less than half the size of ours.

Great Britain, the oppressor against whom our forebears waged war to liberate this nation, enjoys a liberating district size of only 91,000, a seventh the size of the U.S. districts.

Lower House Sizes

2) The Total Legislature
For each nation, we next look at the total population divided by the total number of legislators (from both the upper and lower houses). This analysis allows us to include unicameral parliaments, resulting in a longer list of nations than was evaluated above.

The results are shown in the chart below. The countries are ranked from largest representational district to smallest. (Again, the smaller the district, the more representational will its legislature tend to me.)

“If a nation expects to be ignorant and free ... 
     it expects what never was and never will be.”

– Thomas Jefferson

Last updated: 13July2004
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