US Congress the most diverse ever
The latest US Congress is the most ethnically diverse in history with as many as a quarter of voting members identifying as other than non-Hispanic White.
Overall, 133 senators and representatives today identify as Black, Hispanic, Asian American, American Indian or Alaska Native, according and analysis by the Washington-based think tank, the Pew Research Center.
The Pew research shows the number of diverse US politicians has nearly doubled in the two decades since the Congress of 2003-05, which had 67 minority members.
It analysed the 534 voting members of Congress as of January 3, 2023.
The vast majority (80 per cent) of racial and ethnic minority members in the new Congress are Democrats, while 20 per cent are Republicans. These ratios are similar to the previous Congress, when 83 per cent of non-White lawmakers were Democrats and 17 per cent were Republicans, the Pew Center said.
“Despite growing racial and ethnic diversity on Capitol Hill, members of Congress are still far more likely than the overall US population to be non-Hispanic White (75 per cent versus 59 per cent).” The report said.
“This gap is about as wide as it was in 1981, when 94 per cent of members of Congress were White, compared with 80 per cent of the US population.”
In the new House of Representatives, 27 first term members – including 19 Democrats and eight Republicans – are racial or ethnic minorities.
In the last Congress, just 16 first term representatives – including seven Democrats and nine Republicans – were non-White.
The Pew research found that for the first time representation in Congress of some ethnic groups tallies with their proportion in the overall US population.
“Representation of some racial and ethnic groups in the House is now on par with their share of the total US population, while others continue to lag behind. For example, 13 per cent of House members are Black, about equal to the total she of Black Americans,” the report said.
“And American Indians and Alaska Natives now make up about one per cent of both the House and the US population.
“On the other hand, the share of Hispanic representatives in the House is much lower than the Hispanic share of the US population (11 per cent versus 19 per cent).
“Asian Americans, meanwhile, account for 4 per cent of House members and 6 per cent of the national population.
“When it comes to the upper chamber of Congress, 12 senators are members of a racial or ethnic minority group, up slightly from 11 in the 117th Congress. Six senators are Hispanic, two are Asian, three are Black and one is an American Indian.
“Four of the 12 non-White senators are Republicans: Tim Scott of South Carolina is Black, and Marco Rubio of Florida and Ted Cruz of Texas are both Hispanic.
“Markwayne Mullin of Oklahoma, a member of the Cherokee nation, is the first American Indian to serve in the Senate in almost two decades,” the report said.