Federal Ratio Law and Legal Definition

Federal ratio refers to a settlement set forth by congress to deal with the issue of counting slaves towards population in regards to representation in the House of Representatives. The U.S. constitution provides that the members of lower house of congress shall be proportioned to the free inhabitants of the state they represent, except that in each state, three-fifth of the slave population shall be for this purpose considered as free inhabitants. Thus, according to federal ratio, one slave will count for 3/5 of a free man when counting population for seats by state in the house.