Capitol & State

Idaho Legislature is the second-oldest in the U.S.

With an average member age of 63, Idaho’s state Legislature is the second-oldest in the country. Only New Hampshire’s is longer-toothed, averaging 66.

Idaho’s average is likely to change this year with the retirement of several older members —Ken Andrus of Lava Hot Springs is 80, Linden Bateman of Idaho Falls is 75, and Donna Pence of Gooding is 73. But it will remain well above the national average of 56 for lawmakers, against 47 for the average adult U.S. population.

The information is included in a larger demographic survey of state lawmaking bodies by the National Conference of State Legislatures and Stateline. The section on age is here.

Findings were published in December. Among them:

▪ The average term-limited legislator is three years younger than his or her peers.

▪ Nationwide, the average female legislator is two years older than her male counterpart.

▪ Senators tend to be about two years older than house members.

▪ The average age for members of Congress is 59.

▪ There are no differences in ages between members of the two political parties or among various regions of the country.

▪ Baby-boomers are overrepresented in legislatures, accounting for double their representation in the general population. Millennials are the most underrepresented.

Here are the oldest and youngest, with average age:

Oldest

1. New Hampshire – 66

2. Idaho – 63

3. New Mexico – 62

4. Vermont – 61

Youngest

1 (tie): Puerto Rico, Michigan – 50.

3. Florida – 51

4 (tie). Wisconsin, Ohio: 52

Idaho Ages by Generation

Here are the proportional ages of Idaho lawmakers by generation compared to state population:

Generation

Legislature

State

“Greatest” (1900-1924)

0%

1%

“Silent” (1925-45)

30%

11%

Baby Boomer (1946-64)

61%

30%

Generation X (1965-80)

7%

27%

Millennials (1981-2000)

2%

31%

Source: National Conference of State Legislatures

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