Monday, January 22, 2007

The Oldest Congress Ever

How do the demographics of Congress compare with those of the average American? This Congressional Research Service report (pdf) can tell you. It examines the age, occupations, education, religion, sex, race, Hispanic origin, nativity status, and military service of House and Senate members.

The Senate has never been older, with an average age of 60. House members are aged 55, on average, which also may be a record high (data on the age of House members has been collected only since 1907). The 109th Congress has a record number of women (85), blacks (43), and Hispanics (30), but the minority and female share is still far from representative of the U.S. population as a whole. There are 218 lawyers in Congress, as well as 13 medical doctors, 6 ministers, 2 FBI agents, and one television talk show host. Ten members of Congress were born outside the United States. This Congress has 139 veterans, 13 fewer than in the 108th Congress.

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