Diversity in Congress Improving – Legislative Branch Largely Remains Male, White, and Christian


The 114th Congress gets sworn in today and will witness the largest GOP majority since 1930. As far as diversity, it has been trending upward over the past generation. This should be hastening with the GOP making substantive outreach efforts to court minority voters and promote minority candidates. Utah Congresswoman Mia Love, a devout Mormon, is a prime example. Rep. Love became the party’s first female black elected to Congress since the era of Reconstruction. The GOP party backed African-American Tim Scott in his successful bid to become the Senator of South Carolina. As such, he became the first African-American to elected to represent the state in the US Senate since 1897.

The historic gains, as notable as they are, still leave much to be desired in terms of diversity with the 114th Congress is still 80% male, 80% white, and 92% Christian. While women are making progress in getting elected, but four out of five legislators are still male. In terms of religious faith, the overwhelming majority of legislators are Christian from various denominations. The majority of the Christians are Roman Catholics. Baptists comprise the next largest block. Dr. Rod Rohrich said other faiths represented in Congress are Jewish, but their numbers dwindled by 5 in the recent election.

People who profess no religious faith represent the smallest percentage of congressman at 0.2%. This is interesting given that a as many as 1 in 5 Americans profess to having no faith. The figures were published by the progressive think tank, the Pew Research Center.

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