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Membership of the 111th Congress: A Profile

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Publication Date: December 2008

Publisher(s): Library of Congress. Congressional Research Service

Series: R40086

Topic: Government (Legislative power and procedure)

Type: Report

Coverage: United States

Abstract:

This report presents a profile of the membership of the 111th Congress. Statistical information is included on selected characteristics of Members, including data on party affiliation, average age and length of service, occupation, religious affiliation, gender, ethnicity, foreign births, and military service.

Currently, in the House of Representatives, there are 262 Democrats (including five Delegates and the Resident Commissioner) and 178 Republicans. The Senate has 55 Democrats; two Independents, who caucus with the Democrats; and 41 Republicans. There are two Senate
vacancies and one House vacancy.

The average age of Members of both Houses of Congress at the convening of the 111th Congress is 58.2 years; of Members of the House, 57.0 years; and of Senators, 63.1 years. The overwhelming majority of Members have a college education. The dominant professions of Members are public service/politics, business, and law. Protestants collectively constitute the majority religious affiliation of Members. Roman Catholics account for the largest single religious denomination, and numerous other affiliations are represented.

The average length of service for Representatives at the beginning of the 111th Congress is 11.0 years (5.5 terms); for Senators 12.9 years ( 2.2 terms).

A record number of 95 women serve in the 111th Congress: 78 in the House, 17 in the Senate. There are 41 African American Members of the House and none in the Senate. This number includes two Delegates. There are 31 Hispanic or Latino Members serving: 28 in the House, including the Resident Commissioner, and three in the Senate. Eleven Members (seven Representatives, two Delegates, and two Senators) are Asian or Native Hawaiian/other Pacific Islander. The only American Indian (Native American) serves in the House.

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