Size of State Legislative Staff

11/16/2022

Every six to seven years, NCSL conducts a census of legislative staff to learn about the number of staff employed in every state legislature. The first legislative staff census was conducted in 1979 and the most recent one was in 2021.

Today, more than 33,000 legislative staff work in the state legislatures of the United States and its territories. Staff sizes grew through the 1980s and 1990s, but reported levels have decreased since the early 2000s.

Legislative Staff 2021

0-250
251-500
501-750
751-1000
> 1000
Total Staff During Session | Permanent and Session Staff
STATE 1979 1988 1996* 2003 2009 2015 2021
Alabama 370 416 414 496 550 408 438
Alaska 276 450 405 449 460 513 462
Arizona 590 420 567 682 701 618 707
Arkansas 370 376 456 493 546 532 500
California 1,760 2,978 2,610 2,359 2,106 2,101 2,764
Colorado 283 249 260 385 345 316 308
Connecticut 425 602 623 539 617 590 497
Delaware 107 159 164 131 125 158 128
Florida 1,335 1,774 2,173 1,803 1,570 1,613 1,551
Georgia 600 679 742 823 773 431 367
Hawaii 485 772 742 652 707 591 507
Idaho 175 158 155 183 145 136 213
Illinois 1,119 1,245 1,057 906 1,091 851 1,031
Indiana 308 303 326 383 375 305 308
Iowa 388 415 366 370 370 342 371
Kansas 366 387 363 340 388 354 329
Kentucky 335 462 583 628 679 468 491
Louisiana 482 531 524 739 868 922 810
Maine 154 187 180 190 211 206 204
Maryland 628 771 737 965 732 773 865
Massachusetts* 595 782 850 935 903 759 791
Michigan 1,047 1,289 1,404 1,153 973 817 810
Minnesota 641 804 841 684 723 636 667
Mississippi 221 187 180 195 206 173 145
Missouri 402 587 524 349 509 426 445
Montana 258 266 299 247 237 251 290
Nebraska 220 217 250 239 243 236 238
Nevada 205 266 490 498 601 585 529
New Hampshire 140 142 159 165 179 150 148
New Jersey 582 914 1,514 1,265 816 757 626
New Mexico 262 369 540 648 679 674 558
New York 3,100 4,157 3,899 3,428 2,751 2,865 2,938
North Carolina 390 485 464 629 646 678 614
North Dakota 126 192 172 124 105 122 117
Ohio 390 524 552 506 465 476 436
Oklahoma 326 394 415 433 407 299 229
Oregon 663 557 484 465 478 454 554
Pennsylvania 1,430 2,012 2,702 2,947 2,919 2,358 2,324
Rhode Island 228 232 228 454 441 259 294
South Carolina 396 338 493 421 337 332 275
South Dakota 135 99 94 75 106 114 59
Tennessee 320 260 283 284 335 322 382
Texas 1,486 1,809 2,420 2,268 2,388 2,359 1,918
Utah 182 189 225 181 220 227 239
Vermont 65 71 58 82 86 92 111
Virginia 581 623 823 682 751 822 616
Washington 920 1,049 902 826 846 793 817
West Virginia 394 381 356 410 414 352 342
Wisconsin 633 688 691 756 640 649 592
Wyoming 98 113 125 114 125 109 94
50 State Totals 26,992 33,330 35,884 34,979 33,888 31,374 31,049

Territories: Total Staff During Session
TERRITORY 1979 1988 1996 2003 2009 2015 2021
American Samoa N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 225
District of Columbia N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 201
Guam N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 127
Northern Mariana Islands N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 27
Puerto Rico N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 1,198
U.S. Virgin Islands N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 220
Territory Totals N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 1,998

Permanent Staff
STATE 1979 1988 1996* 2003 2009 2015 2021
Alabama 200 339 316 422 467 349 379
Alaska 116 251 237 307 325 341 322
Arizona 280 323 472 631 598 521 621
Arkansas 230 250 292 339 405 435 432
California 1,760 2,865 2,506 2,334 2,067 2,098 2,751
Colorado 173 189 213 209 230 228 262
Connecticut 225 400 446 393 490 465 427
Delaware 32 49 58 84 74 79 87
Florida 1,095 1,581 1,896 1,650 1,457 1,446 1,448
Georgia 275 466 511 603 605 221 221
Hawaii 150 151 256 170 355 307 273
Idaho 55 51 61 75 81 76 89
Illinois 984 1,066 969 905 1,048 784 984
Indiana 138 171 183 304 239 252 270
Iowa 93 163 180 172 191 167 192
Kansas 126 117 121 100 150 148 152
Kentucky 135 216 317 386 406 375 363
Louisiana 327 360 419 688 666 743 735
Maine 46 138 133 156 169 171 178
Maryland 328 447 505 850 562 656 644
Massachusetts* 595 782 850 935 903 759 791
Michigan 1,047 1,287 1,359 1,153 973 817 810
Minnesota 420 602 638 602 590 568 600
Mississippi 130 124 132 150 164 140 129
Missouri 212 368 476 321 474 403 408
Montana 108 128 119 122 127 136 143
Nebraska 182 199 202 217 228 229 228
Nevada 85 115 170 230 293 284 291
New Hampshire 84 120 139 165 147 129 139
New Jersey 492 780 1,465 1,206 768 727 605
New Mexico 40 49 49 145 172 168 122
New York 1,600 3,580 3,461 3,077 2,676 2,776 2,850
North Carolina 90 118 168 290 321 370 493
North Dakota 26 31 31 32 32 37 34
Ohio 390 524 552 505 465 476 436
Oklahoma 101 171 260 302 293 224 202
Oregon 173 288 240 181 298 303 405
Pennsylvania 1,430 1,984 2,682 2,947 2,918 2,358 2,323
Rhode Island 81 153 216 297 284 259 294
South Carolina 146 251 269 247 252 280 269
South Dakota 75 67 60 56 55 58 27
Tennessee 270 175 213 253 277 264 304
Texas 986 1,460 1,964 1,745 2,090 2,057 1,619
Utah 71 86 111 108 114 133 165
Vermont 34 34 35 52 60 55 72
Virginia 306 191 468 410 391 533 351
Washington 370 582 535 561 597 536 627
West Virginia 124 126 158 195 219 201 189
Wisconsin 476 568 691 756 640 649 592
Wyoming 18 19 18 29 39 36 44
50 State Totals 16,930 24,555 27,822 28,067 27,445 25,827 26,392

Session-Only staff
STATE 1979 1988 1996* 2003 2009 2015 2021
Alabama 170 77 98 74 83 59 59
Alaska 160 199 168 142 135 172 140
Arizona 310 97 95 51 103 97 86
Arkansas 140 126 164 154 141 97 68
California 0 113 104 25 39 3 13
Colorado 110 60 47 176 115 88 46
Connecticut 200 202 177 146 127 125 70
Delaware 75 110 106 47 51 79 41
Florida 240 193 277 153 113 167 103
Georgia 325 213 231 220 168 210 146
Hawaii 335 621 486 482 352 284 234
Idaho 120 107 94 108 64 60 124
Illinois 135 179 88 1 43 67 47
Indiana 170 132 143 79 136 53 38
Iowa 295 252 186 198 179 175 179
Kansas 240 270 242 240 238 206 177
Kentucky 200 246 266 242 273 93 128
Louisiana 155 171 105 51 202 179 75
Maine 108 49 47 34 42 35 26
Maryland 300 324 232 115 170 117 221
Massachusetts* 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Michigan 0 2 45 0 0 0 0
Minnesota 221 202 203 82 133 68 67
Mississippi 91 63 48 45 42 33 16
Missouri 190 219 48 28 35 23 37
Montana 150 138 180 125 110 115 147
Nebraska 38 18 48 22 15 7 10
Nevada 120 151 320 268 308 301 238
New Hampshire 56 22 20 0 32 21 9
New Jersey 90 134 49 59 48 30 21
New Mexico 222 320 491 503 507 506 436
New York 1,500 577 438 351 75 89 88
North Carolina 300 367 296 339 325 308 121
North Dakota 100 161 141 92 73 85 83
Ohio 0 0 0 1 0 0 0
Oklahoma 225 223 155 131 114 75 27
Oregon 490 269 244 284 180 151 149
Pennsylvania 0 28 20 0 1 0 1
Rhode Island 147 79 12 157 157 0 0
South Carolina 250 87 224 174 85 52 6
South Dakota 60 32 34 19 51 56 32
Tennessee 50 85 70 31 58 58 78
Texas 500 349 456 523 298 302 299
Utah 111 103 114 73 106 94 74
Vermont 31 37 23 30 26 37 39
Virginia 275 432 355 272 360 289 265
Washington 550 467 367 265 249 257 190
West Virginia 270 255 198 215 195 151 153
Wisconsin 157 120 0 0 0 0 0
Wyoming 80 94 107 85 86 73 50
50 State Totals 10,062 8,775 8,062 6,912 6,443 5,547 4,657

*No data for Massachusetts in 1996 (estimated 850 based on trend)

Legislative Staff Definition and Categories

A legislative employee is any person other than a state legislator who draws a salary or compensation from the budget of the legislature. However, for the purposes of the survey, this definition does not include:

  • Temporary contractual employees whose work is incidental to routine legislative processes and activities; for example, a contractor who is hired to install equipment or to consult on capitol security.
  • Interns.
  • Pages.

This definition does include the following categories of legislative staff:

  • NONPARTISAN, FULL-TIME legislative employees work year-round for the legislature. This category includes nonpartisan maintenance and facility management employees. Staff in this category typically serve members of all political parties in the legislature or in a chamber and include both professional and clerical employees.
  • PARTISAN, FULL-TIME legislative employees work year-round for the legislature. Staff in this category typically provide service to a political caucus staff, for a legislative leader, for an individual member at the capitol or in a district office and include both professional and clerical employees. 
  • NONPARTISAN, SESSION-ONLY legislative employees are hired to work only when the legislature is in session. Staff in this category typically serve members of all political parties in the legislature or in a chamber and include both professional and clerical employees.
  • PARTISAN, SESSION-ONLY legislative employees are hired to work only when the legislature is in session. Staff in this category typically provide service to a political caucus staff, for a legislative leader, for an individual member at the capitol or in a district office and include both professional and clerical employees.
  • PERSONAL STAFF work directly for a state legislator or small group of legislators. Their workplace might be located at the statehouse or at a district office. In most cases, these staff are considered to be partisan due to the nature of their work and relationship with the legislator. In many states, the legislator is the hiring authority for these staff. (This category of legislative staff will be collected beginning with the 2021 survey.)