The 117th U.S. Congress took office in January, v Democrats holding narrow majorities in the House and Senate.

You are watching: Describe the average member of congress

Apart native its politics makeup, the new Congress different from prior people in various other ways, including its demographics. Here are seven charts that display how the demographic profile of conference has readjusted over time, using historic data native CQ roll Call, the Congressional research study Service and also other sources.

To identify the demographics that the 117th Congress, we pulled data from newly published Pew Research center analyses and also other previously work. Because not every members the the 117th Congress were seated ~ above Jan. 3, 2021, and also because some then-filled seats are now empty or readjusted hands since that time, formerly published data originates from several dates. For more information ~ above the methodology of previously published posts, please visit the initial links, which room in the text of this post.

Data on the educational attainment the members the Congress includes the 532 poll members the the legislature together of march 3. Data is attracted from the U.S. Congress Biographical magazine and, as soon as relevant, other official biographies and news reports.

All data clues reflect only voting members the Congress, except for the analysis of ladies in the legislature.


The present Congress is the most racially and ethnically diverse ever.Overall, 124 lawmakers identify as Black, Hispanic, Asian/Pacific Islander or indigenous American – make up23% the Congress, consisting of 26% the the residence of Representatives and also 11% that the Senate. Through comparison, once the 79th Congress take it office in 1945, non-White lawmakers represented just1% of the House and also Senate.

Despite this growing racial and also ethnic diversity, Congress continues to be less varied than the nation as a whole: Non-Hispanic White american account because that 77% of vote members in the new Congress, considerably more than their 60% re-superstructure of the U.S. Population.


The number ofwomen in Congressis in ~ an all-time high.About a century after Republican Jeannette Rankinof Montana came to be the first woman chosen to Congress, there space 144 ladies in the nationwide legislature, accountancy for a record 27% of all members throughout both chambers.(This consists of six nonvoting home members who represent the ar of Columbia and also U.S. Territories, 4 of whom space women.)

A document 120 ladies are currently serving in the House, accountancy for 27% that the chamber’s total. There space 24 females in the Senate, one fewer 보다 the record variety of seats they hosted in the last Congress. In four states – Minnesota, Nevada, new Hampshire and also Washington – both senators are women, down from six states in the ahead Senate.

The House has actually seen slow however steady expansion in the variety of women members because the 1920s. Expansion in the Senate has been slower: The Senate did no have much more than 3 women serving at any point until the 102nd Congress, which began in 1991. And the share of females in Congress stays far listed below their share in the nation as a entirety (27% vs. 51%).

The number of Millennials and also Gen Xers in Congress has actually risen slightly in recent years. In the present Congress, 7% of house members, or 31 lawmakers, room Millennials (born between 1981 and also 1996), increase from 1% in the 115th Congress. A third of house lawmakers, or 144 members, are Gen X (born indigenous 1965 come 1980), increase from 27% 2 Congresses earlier.


This year experienced the swearing-in the the first Millennial senator: Democrat Jon Ossoff of Georgia. The number of Gen X senators has slowly ticked increase from 16 in the 115th congress to 20 this year.

While younger generations have actually increased their representation in congress in recent years, enlarge generations tho account because that the bulk of lawmakers throughout both chambers. Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) comprise 53% of the House’s voting membership, in addition to 68 of the 100 senators.

The ranks of the silent Generation (born between 1928 and 1945) have decreased in current years, indigenous 10%, or 42 members, at the start of the 115th congress to 6%, or 27 members, in the present Congress.

The re-superstructure of immigrants in Congress has actually ticked upbut remains well listed below historical highs.There space 18 foreign-born legislator in the 117th Congress, including 17 in the House and also just one in the Senate: Mazie Hirono, a Hawaii Democrat that was born in Japan.


These lawmakers account because that 3% that legislators, slightly higher than the re-publishing in other recent Congresses but listed below the share in much earlier Congresses. In the 50th conference of 1887-89, for example, 8% the members to be born abroad. The current share that foreign-born lawmakers in conference is also far listed below theforeign-born shareof the U.S. Together a whole, which to be 13.6% as of 2019.

While the variety of foreign-born lawmakers in the current Congress is small, an ext members haveat the very least one parentwho was born in another country. Together, immigrants and also the children of immigrant account for at the very least 14% the the new Congress, a slightly greater share 보다 in the last Congress (13%).

Far under members the Congress now have straight military endure than in the past. In the existing Congress, 91 members offered in the army at some point in their lives – the lowest number since at least people War II, follow toMilitary Times. Over there are more than double as plenty of Republican veterans (63) in the brand-new Congress together Democrats (28). Equal shares the senators and representatives (17%) have actually served in the military.


While the number and share of veterans in Congress overall have decreased, the newly elected freshman class includes 15 such lawmakers.

Looking at the longer term, there has beena dramatic decreasein members of congress with military experience since the so late 20th century. Between 1965 and also 1975, at the very least 70% of legislator in each legislative chamber had military experience. The share of members with military experience peaked in ~ 75% in 1967 because that the House and also at 81% in 1975 because that the Senate.

While relatively few members of conference today have military experience,an also smaller re-publishing of Americansdo. In 2018, around 7% that U.S. Adults had actually military experience, under from 18% in 1980, not lengthy after the end of the army draft era.


The vast majority of members of Congress have college degrees.The share of representatives and also senators with a college level has steadily increased over time. In the 117th Congress, 94% of home members and also all senators have a bachelor’s level or much more education. Two-thirds of representatives and three-quarters of senators have at the very least one graduate degree, too. In the 79th congress (1945-47), by comparison,56% of residence members and 75% of senatorshad bachelor’s degrees.

The education attainment the Congress far outpaces the of the in its entirety U.S. Population. In 2019, around a 3rd (36%) that American adults periods 25 and older stated they had completed a bachelor’s level or much more education, follow toU.S. Census office data.

Congress has actually becomeslightly more religiously diverseover time.The current Congress contains the very first two Muslim women ever to offer in the House and also has the fewest christians (468) in 12 Congresses analyzed through Pew Research center dating back to 1961. Regardless of this decline, Christians room still overrepresented in congress in ratio to their share the the public: virtually nine-in-ten congressional members space Christian (88%), contrasted with 65% of U.S. Adult overall.

See more: Memory Loss Cause Of Memory Loss In Young Adults, Memory Loss & 10 Early Signs Of Alzheimer'S

By contrast, spiritual “nones” space underrepresented in congress in comparison through the U.S. Population. While 26% of americans say they are atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular,” just one lawmaker – Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz. – says she is religiously unaffiliated.