p. 65




Status: Complete

This report is based on data collected between March and
December of 1980 as part of the Joint Center's annual census of
black elected officials. In March, questionnaires were mailed to
each of the 4,607 black elected officials listed in the 1979 edition
of the National Roster of Black Elected Officials. A follow-up ques-
tionnaire was sent to nonresponding officials in July 1980 (the
questionnaire is attached as Appendix A). The overall return rate
for the questionnaires was 34 percent, a typical response rate
for a mail survey. The sample appears to be reasonably representative
of the population of black elected officials in 1980 with respect to
offices held and regional distribution, as can be seen from Tables
2 and 3, permitting reliable inferences concerning black elected
officials in general from the sample population.
The profile of black elected officials is changing in several
important respects. Substantially more black women held elective
office in 1980 than in 1970. Second, the proportion of Democrats
among black officeholders increased from its already high level
during the 1970s. Third, since the most dramatic black electoral
progress has been in the South, the geographic distribution of


black elected officials has shifted. And finally, a greater proportion
of black officials came from predominately black electoral jurisdic-
tions in 1980 than in prior years.

Reprinted with permission from "Black Elected Officials and their Consti-
tuencies," Joint Center for Political Studies, 1983, pp. 1-6.


10 Ivy Leaf -- Winter 1983-84

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