The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Diversity is coming to Congress — very, very slowly

If a number of things fall into place and the right people win a few key races come November, the United States Congress could -- could! -- be comprised of 20 percent women in 2015.

That's according to analysis done by Time magazine of Rutgers University's Center for American Women and Politics, which earlier this week outlined the gender composition of the 2014 field of candidates. The Senate is already at 20 percent, but the House lags behind. In 2015, though, the U.S. Congress could be one-fifth of the people who comprise more than one half of the population. Imagine!

We were curious, though, how this has changed over time. So we pulled data (including from the excellent archives of the House) on the diversity of Congress since its inception. The long story short is the story you already know: The Congress has always been and continues to be the domain of white men.

The number of black, Latino and Asian members of Congress has also been consistently low -- but is also increasing.

In fact, both women and non-white members of Congress have been flirting with the 20 percent mark for a few years now.

Could 2015 give us the most diverse Congress in history? It might. But it will still be some distance from being as diverse as the citizens of the country it represents.