A Glimpse at Diversity in the German Parliament

In light of the upcoming German federal elections in September 2017, I take a brief look at the age and gender distribution in the German Parliament, the Bundestag, from its establishment in 1949 to the last general election in 2013. The figure below sums up the most interesting findings, starting with the observation that while the age composition changed over time, the average age of the representatives stayed almost constant over the past seven decades (indicated by the blue line at the margins and the corresponding values). In addition, it highlights that the number of female representatives has risen considerably from a meagre 28 out of 382 members in the 1st Bundestag (1949-1953) to 230 out of 631 in the current (18th) term.


Source: own figure based on official data made available on the Bundestag website

The figure above remains a draft and will certainly require some more work. However, it shows very clearly how the size of the parliament evolved over time – a particularly interesting observation is the increase in size of the Bundestag following the German re-unification in 1990, which ballooned the parliament from 519 to 662 seats.

If this made you curious about the data, but you feel overwhelmed by the first graph (or are concerned about the perceptual problems associated with the combination of polar coordinates with stacked bar charts), you might like the cleaner, less ornamental figures below:

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A Glimpse at Diversity in the German Parliament