May 25, 2011

How young is the 41st Parliament, anyway?

By Andreas Krebs

There has been a lot of coverage in the media about the age of the new MPs set to take their seats in Parliament next week. We know that Pierre-Luc Dusseault, at 19 years of age, is the youngest MP ever to be elected in Canada. But what about the rest of them? Is Dusseault's jeunesse indicative of the overall age of our new Parliamentarians?

Samara and a group of volunteers--Janet Rodriguez, Tyler Somers, and Sarah Somerton--have been compiling information on the new MPs, including their year of birth. This information has proved enlightening.

For instance, the average age of an MP taking office in the 40th Parliament was 52. The average age of an MP taking office in the 41st Parliament is 51. So on average, our elected Parliamentarians are one year younger than those who sat in the last parliament.

But if we divide the 41st Parliament into incumbents and new MPs, perhaps there is a difference. The average age of new MPs is a sprightly 44, compared to an average age of 54 among incumbents.

According to these numbers, it would seem that the new MPs are indeed significantly younger than the incumbents. But the incumbents are older for a reason: they have years of Parliamentary experience.

We really need to compare how old the incumbents were when they first entered federal politics with the age of the new MPs. These numbers, it turns out, are very close: the incumbents had an average age of 45 when they first started, as compared with 44 for the new MPs.

So Members of the 41st Parliament are, on average, one year younger than Members of the previous one. And our new MPs are also a year younger than their more seasoned counterparts were when they entered politics. Given this information, perhaps the media's focus on the youth of the new Parliament is a little exaggerated...

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AriaWood

May 27, 2011 23:31 PM

I'd be interested in seeing median ages, rather than averages. Also broken down by gender. Thanks.

Alison Loat

May 30, 2011 17:30 PM

Stay tuned!  Lots more to come.  With time, we'll have a series on this Parliament much like the one we did on the previous Parliament: www.samaracanada.com/blog/?tag=/40th-Parliament

However, in the meantime, you can get the gender stats for this Parliament from Equal Voice's website.

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