115th Congress is the Most Diverse Yet
The US congress is currently the most diverse that it has ever been, with one-in-five members being from a racial or ethnic minority. 19% of congress is now non-white, compared to just 1% when the 79th congress took office in 1945; evidently, progress has been made.
Some notable new additions to the 155th congress include: Val Demings, the first woman and African American to represent her district of Orlando, Florida; Stephanie Murphy, the first Vietnamese American woman elected; Pramila Jayapal, the first Indian American woman; and Adriano Espaillat, the first Dominican American to enter the House.
However, the diversity in Capitol Hill is still not representative of the nation, where 38% of the population is non-white. That means that there should be double the number of minority individuals in congress than is the case.
Women, moreover, account for 51% of the US population, yet only make up approximately 19% of congress. Native Americans are also poorly represented, with only two sitting in congress.
The trend, though, is promising, with 34% of congress’s new members (20 out of 59) coming from a minority background, compared with 15% in the previous congress. Hopefully, we will see this figure increase steadily over the coming years so that congress can begin to accurately reflect the country’s racial and ethnic makeup.