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Saturday
Aug172019

The Disproportion of Superannuated Councillors Must Be Corrected This Time Around

Here is an excerpt from a Charles Mitchell article published today in Stuff tthat outlines research into age, gender and ethnicity of current elected members over the entire country. It is very disturbing - particularly when overlayed against our own age gap . The proportion of members over 50 is ridiculous, and reflected in some of the recent decision making.

The October election is the opportunity to correct siome of this age dis-proportion in partiucular, and should be taken, even if we know very little about some of the younger aspirants.Read the whole article, and observe some of Charlies pie charts to really get the picture

"As of 2019, the number of councillors nationwide who are either 37 years old or younger is approximately 32, nearly seven times fewer than would be expected given their share of the population.

To get a sense of how low this is, the number of elected members named John is around 33, as is the number of councillors named Michael. This means if you picked an elected councillor at random, they would be twice as likely to be named John or Michael than to have been born at any point since 1981.

The number of young elected members has been lower in the past. Based on periodic elected member surveys (which, as a note of caution, includes community board members, who tend to be younger), the proportion of elected members under the age of 40 was just 2.2 per cent in 2001 (compared to 6 per cent now).

The current proportion, however, is the same as it was in 1998, and slightly lower than in 2010. If it's getting better, it's doing so very slowly. So which age group is taking up the council seats? Unsurprisingly, they are overwhelmingly occupied by people aged between 51 and 70. 

In the absence of specific age data, post-election surveys are the best source for figuring out how old councillors are. Following the 2016 election, the proportion of surveyed elected members older than 51 was around 83 per cent, despite that age group making up less than one-third of the overall population.

The elected members of this age group are predominantly men; women members tend to be younger, with around 65 per cent of female members older than 51. 

Only one age cohort is fairly represented in local government, and that's people older than 71; they comprise around eight per cent of elected members, roughly the same as their share of the overall population.

What can we take from this? The average councillor was born closer to the end of World War I than to the current day."  

 

 


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