Monday, November 26, 2018

diversity in Congress

I keep reading articles noting that the Democratic caucus in the new US House of Representatives is more diverse in race and gender than the Republican caucus. Usually this takes the form of pointing at photos of them. But I haven't seen any statistics. So I decided to compile some.

This mostly comes from Wikipedia, so it's a seat-of-the-pants thing, not a peer-reviewed sociological analysis. According to the election results when I checked there last week, the outcome was D 234, R 201, which may be one or two off from figures elsewhere, due perhaps to races being called before the final results were in. Figures for diversity are mostly from its lists of members fitting these criteria, and may be even less reliable. Not to mention the possibility of errors on my own checklists. However, the differences are still clear.

The categories I looked for are those which customarily are taken as depicting socio-economic diversity. If you think I should have covered something else, I'll see if I can find a list.

*Women: D 89, R 12.
*self-identified LGB (which is as far down those initials as Congress gets): D 8, R 0.
*African-Americans: D 50, R 1.
*Native Americans (enrolled tribes, in case you ask): D 2, R 2.
*Hispanics (those of Latin American origin or descent only: another 6 whose ancestors came from Europe in the 19th century or earlier are socio-economically indistinguishable from those from other southern European countries who immigrated at the same time - I'm looking for minority diversity, not running an ethnography of Congress): D 33, R 5.
*Asian-Americans (East Asia or South Asia): D 12, R 0.
*Jewish (not usually considered a minority group, but as voters and in Congress they really stand apart from whites as a whole): D 26, R 2.
*Muslims: D 2, R 0.

Adjusting for those who are more than one of the above, I get 163 D (69% of the caucus) and 21 R (10% of the caucus) who are something other than straight white Christian male.

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