proportional representation


Definition of proportional representation

: an electoral system in which the number of seats held by a political group or party in a legislative body is determined by the number of popular votes received

Examples of proportional representation in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web By adopting proportional representation, Congress could ensure that the people’s house always actually represents the people. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "How to Fix the House of Representatives," 31 Dec. 2020 Over the past year, the agency’s 46-member board, which includes a proportional representation of officials from its member counties and the city of Cleveland, has become more committed to racial, social and economic equity. Steven Litt, cleveland, "NOACA board approves new policy on interchanges that could limit sprawl, encourage smart growth," 12 Dec. 2020 About one-third of cable content does not have proportional representation for many different identity groups, including women, Black people, Hispanic/Latino people, the LGBTQ community and Indigenous people. David Oliver, USA TODAY, "Women 'still underrepresented' on screen, Nielsen diversity on TV study shows," 4 Dec. 2020 Its 46-member board includes a proportional representation of the populations in its member counties. Steven Litt, cleveland, "NOACA to hold online webinar Monday, November 9 to discuss new draft policy on highway interchanges," 5 Nov. 2020 Parties contested for 120 seats via party list under proportional representation, while the remainder were decided by majority vote, compared to 77 and 73 respectively in 2016. Helena Bedwell,, "Georgia’s Ruling Party Claims Victory in Parliamentary Elections," 1 Nov. 2020 New Zealand’s Labour Party romped home to secure a fresh term at a general election, winning 49% of the vote and an overall parliamentary majority, the first for any party in the country since proportional representation was adopted in 1996. The Economist, "Politics this week," 22 Oct. 2020 With 49 percent of the vote, Ardern’s Labour Party is projected to have an outright parliamentary majority—a first for any New Zealand party since the country moved to its proportional representation system more than two decades ago. Yasmeen Serhan, The Atlantic, "Jacinda Ardern’s Job Will Only Get Harder," 17 Oct. 2020 Ardern’s Labour Party secured the first outright majority in parliament since the introduction of proportional representation in 1996 and, if preliminary results stand, its biggest share of the vote in more than 70 years. Ainsley Thomson,, "Ardern Storms to Historic Election Victory After Crushing Covid," 17 Oct. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'proportional representation.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of proportional representation

1870, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about proportional representation

Time Traveler for proportional representation

Time Traveler

The first known use of proportional representation was in 1870

See more words from the same year

Statistics for proportional representation

Last Updated

8 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Proportional representation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Jan. 2021.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for proportional representation

proportional representation


English Language Learners Definition of proportional representation

: a system in which the number of seats held by members of a political party in a legislature (such as a parliament) is determined by the number of votes its candidates receive in an election

More from Merriam-Webster on proportional representation Encyclopedia article about proportional representation

Comments on proportional representation

What made you want to look up proportional representation? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Slippery Words Quiz—Changing with the Times

  • ducreux self portrait yawning
  • What is an earlier meaning of nice?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!