Unequal Representation

October 29, 1958

Report Outline
Rural Political Power vs. Urban Needs
Extent of Inequality of Representation
Consequences of Unequal Apportionment
Continuing Struggle Over Representation
Special Focus

Rural Political Power vs. Urban Needs

Need of Cities to Seek Federal Assistances

Major american cities will look to the federal government again in 1959 to help them solve problems in which the state legislatures, dominated by members from rural areas, have shown little interest. The cities may get a readier response from the 86th Congress than they have had from its immediate predecessors. If predicted increases in Democratic majorities in House and Senate materialize, they may be expected to weaken the informal coalition of Republicans and southern Democrats, whose members have regularly opposed direct federal-local tie-ups, and give freer rein to northern Democrats inclined to favor federal aid of various kinds to municipalities.

Politics aside, it is probable that the nation's cities will find it increasingly necessary to seek federal assistance. Urban population is growing at a faster rate than rural population. Yet few state legislatures have been willing to grant city voters representation proportionate to numbers, even when state constitutions so command. In this situation, a House Government Operations subcommittee concluded on Aug. 8: “So long as the cities are deprived by state restrictions of the opportunity to solve local problems and are denied a fair voice in the determination of state legislative policies, they will continue to seek federal assistance and will attempt to bypass the states.”

The United States Conference of Mayors, meeting at Miami Beach Sept. 11 to 13, asked Congress “to strengthen existing federal grant-in-aid programs and to judge proposed new grant-in-aid programs on their merits,” The resolution, adopted without dissent, explained: “The urban citizen is by state statutory or constitutional provisions in most instances foreclosed from equal representation in state legislatures.”

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Reapportionment, Redistricting, and Representation
Mar. 04, 2022  Redistricting Battles
Aug. 25, 2017  Redistricting Showdown
Feb. 25, 2011  Redistricting Debates
Apr. 11, 2008  D.C. Voting Rights
Feb. 16, 2001  Redistricting
Aug. 12, 1994  Electing Minorities
Feb. 15, 1991  Redistricting: Drawing Power with a Map
Feb. 05, 1982  Reapportionment: Year of Decision
Sep. 30, 1964  Reapportionment Struggle
May 03, 1961  Reapportionment in the Courts
Oct. 29, 1958  Unequal Representation
Oct. 10, 1950  Representation in the United Nations
Jan. 03, 1950  Legislative Apportionment
Nov. 08, 1938  Proportional Representation
May 13, 1929  The Census and Reapportionment
Dec. 06, 1927  Apportionment of Representatives in Congress
Reapportionment and Redistricting
State, Local, and Intergovernmental Relations