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Sunday, October 5, 2014

Congress: Economic and Educational Background

At Brookings, Edward P. Rodrigue and Richard V. Reeves write that members of Congress are different from the rest of us.
The House is much wealthier than the rest of the country and wealthier than past Congresses. In the 112th Congress as a whole, most members are millionaires, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics. The freshman House members in the 112th Congress had a median net worth of $807,013; last year, the median American was worth $44,900.

The freshmen members of the 112th Congress were college-age around 1980. Of those who attended college, 6.5% did so at a two-year institution, compared to 28% of the same cohort of the general population. Half the freshman members with college degrees went to state schools (50%), compared to three out of four (76%) Americans of the same cohort. And while almost one in ten (9%) of freshman House members attended an Ivy League college, fewer than 2% of the general population did.
The educational backgrounds of House members suggest that they’re not only richer than the average American as adults, but come from more affluent families, too. This gap is stubbornly persistent, at least judging from our benchmarks.