Nonwhites – including blacks, Hispanics, Asians/Pacific Islanders and Native Americans – now account for 19% of Congress (and 34% of its freshman class). When the 79th Congress took office in 1945, nonwhites represented just 1% of the House and Senate.
While racial diversity on Capitol Hill has been growing, Congress still lags behind the nation as a whole, which is 38% nonwhite – twice the share of Congress. Racial diversity also differs significantly by chamber: The House is 22% nonwhite, while minorities make up 10% of the Senate.
In the current Congress, 20% of senators and 19% of representatives have served in the military at some point in their careers.
That’s a dramatic decrease since the late 20th century. Between 1965 and 1975, at least 70% of each legislative chamber had military experience. The share of members with military experience peaked at 75% in 1967 for the House and at 81% in 1975 for the Senate.