Interesting demographic facts about the 113th Congress

November 11, 2013
(Ray Lustig/The Washington Post)
(Ray Lustig/The Washington Post)

More Hispanics and women serve in Congress than ever before, but the number of veterans in the legislature has continued to steadily decline, according to a demographic profile from the Congressional Research Service.

The report, dated Oct. 31, shows that 37 Hispanics and 101 women are members of the 113th Congress, while 88 lawmakers — or less than 17 percent of the total — have served in the military during times of war.

Veterans represented a significantly higher proportion of lawmakers during previous decades. In the 97th Congress (1981-1982), for example, they made up 64 percent of the legislature.

The Congressional Research Service issues a report on the demographics of every Congress. A few other interesting facts from this year’s report:

Age

The average age of House lawmakers at the beginning of the current legislature was 57 years, while the average age for the Senate was 62 years.

The average age for newly elected lawmakers was 49 years for the House and 53 years for the Senate.

The minimum ages for those chambers of Congress are 25 and 30, respectively.

Length of Service

Members of the House served an average of 9.1 years, or 4.6 terms, while Senate lawmakers stayed in office for an average of 10.2 years, or 1.7 terms.

Religion

Protestants dominate both chambers of Congress, but Roman Catholics account for the largest single religious denomination.

Fifty-six percent of all members of Congress have identified themselves as Protestants, with Baptists making up the largest group within that segment. Thirty-one percent of lawmakers call themselves Catholic.

Jews make up about 6 percent of the legislature, and Mormons comprise nearly 3 percent.

Three members are Buddhist, two are Muslim and one is a Hindu.

More ethnicity

Forty-three African Americans, two Native Americans and 13 Asian Americans or Pacific Islanders hold congressional seats, including delegate offices.

Follow Josh Hicks on TwitterFacebook or Google+. Connect by e-mail at  josh.hicks@washpost.comVisit The Federal Eye, The Fed Page and Post Politics for more federal news. E-mail federalworker@washpost.com with news tips and other suggestions.

Josh Hicks covers the federal government and anchors the Federal Eye blog. He reported for newspapers in the Detroit and Seattle suburbs before joining the Post as a contributor to Glenn Kessler’s Fact Checker blog in 2011.
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Steve Vogel · November 11, 2013