Knowing Your Government:115th Congress sets new high for racial, ethnic diversity

us-capitol-1533368_960_720Almost one-in-five voting members of the House and Senate are a racial or ethnic minority, making the 115th U.S. Congress the most diverse in history.

And while Congress as a whole remains  disproportionately white when compared with the U.S. population, the racial and ethnic profile of newly elected members more closely resembles the increasingly diverse populace, according to a Pew Research Center analysis.

Overall, nonwhites (including blacks, Hispanics, Asians/Pacific Islanders and Native Americans) make up 19% of the current Congress. By comparison, nonwhite Hispanics and other racial minorities make up 38% of the nation’s population.

Minorities, however, account for 20 of 59 new members (34%) of the House and Senate.

This represents a notable jump over the 114th Congress, when just 11 of 71 new members (15%) were a racial or ethnic minority and the Senate had no newly elected minority members.

This year, three freshman senators are a racial or ethnic minority, along with 17 new members of the House.

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