U.S. President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union speech before a joint session of Congress at the U.S. Capitol February 12, 2013 in Washington, DC.
Chip Somodevilla—Getty Images
October 8, 2014 2:41 PM EDT

Two-thirds of elected representatives in the U.S. are white males, while two-thirds of their constituents are not, according to a new research effort that spotlights demographic gaps between America’s leaders and their electorate.

Researchers at “Who Leads Us,” a project backed by the Women Donors Network, collected demographic information on 42,000 elected officials in order to answer the question, “Do America’s elected officials reflect our population?” Judging by their race and gender, not so much. 71% of elected officials are men and 90% are white, representing a national population that, according to Census data cited by the study, is 52% female and 38% persons of color.

Women of color stood out as the most underrepresented group in elected office, making up 4% of elected officials and 19% of the population. This incongruity between electorate and representatives, the study’s authors conclude, confirms “that the face of America’s leadership bears little resemblance to our country’s population.”

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