But many otherwise qualified minority applicants lack Hill experience because they never make it to the first rung of the legislative ladder: an internship. Most Capitol Hill internships are unpaid, which presents a barrier to potential staffers who cannot afford to spend a summer living in the expensive Washington metro area without a salary. Whites are more likely to be able to afford this sacrifice: In 2011, the poverty rate for whites was 9.8 percent, compared with 27.6 percent for blacks, 25.3 percent for Hispanics, and 12.3 percent for Asian-Americans, according to Census figures.
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