Almost one-in-five members of the House and Senate are a racial or ethnic minority, making the 114th Congress the most diverse in history. However, Congress remains disproportionately white when compared with the U.S. population, which has grown increasingly diverse in recent decades, according to a Pew Research Center analysis.
Overall, non-whites (including blacks, Hispanics, Asian/Pacific Islanders and Native Americans) make up 17% of the new Congress, but that is below these groups’ 38% share of the nation’s population. This difference also exists among the newly elected members of Congress, as minorities account for 11 of 71 (15%) new members of the House and Senate. (No new senators are a racial or ethnic minority.)
Diversity among congressional members has been growing for decades. But the nation’s population has diversified more quickly. When the 107th Congress took office in 2001, minorities accounted for 12% of Congress, compared with about 31% of the nation’s population. By comparison, in 1981, 6% of Congress was minority (black, Hispanic, Asian/Pacific Islander or Native American), while in the national population about 20% were non-white.
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Tuesday, January 13, 2015