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Membership of the 109th Congress: A Profile

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Publication Date: November 2006

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

Series: RS22007

Topic: Government (Public officials)

Abstract:

This report presents a profile of the membership of the 109th Congress. Statistical information is included on selected characteristics of Members. This includes data on party affiliation; average age and length of service; occupation; religious affiliation; female and minority Members; foreign-born Members; and military service.

Currently, in the House of Representatives, there are 232 Republicans (including the Resident Commissioner), 205 Democrats (including four Delegates), and one Independent, who is aligned with the Democrats. The Senate has 55 Republicans, 44 Democrats, and one Independent, who is aligned with the Democrats.

The average age of Members of both houses is 56 years; of Representatives, 55 years; and of Senators, 60 years. The overwhelming majority of Members has a college education. The dominant profession of Members continues to be law, followed by public service/politics and business.

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 in the House is about 9.3 years (slightly over 4.5 terms); in the Senate, 12.1 years (two terms).

A record number of 84 women serve in the 109th Congress: 70 in the House, 14 in the Senate. An unprecedented number of black Members (43) are also serving. There are 42 black Members in the House, including two Delegates, and one in the Senate. In addition, there is a record 29 Hispanic Members serving; 26 in the House, including the Resident Commissioner, and three in the Senate. Eight Members (five Representatives, one Delegate, and two Senators) are Asian, Indian American (Asian), or Native Hawaiian/other Pacific Islander. There is one American Indian (Native American), who serves in the House.

This report will be revised at the commencement of the 110th Congress or when significant changes occur in the 109th Congress.