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A Visual Look at Today's Congress Compared to 50 Years Ago A Visual Look at Today's Congress Compared to 50 Years Ago

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The Next America - Politics 2012 / Politics

A Visual Look at Today's Congress Compared to 50 Years Ago

Rep.-elect Joseph P. Kennedy III, D-Mass., grandson of Robert F. Kennedy, sits with his father and other members and their families in the House of Representatives during the swearing-in ceremonies for the 113th Congress on Thursday. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

photo of Doris Nhan
January 4, 2013

The 113th Congress, sworn in Thursday, is hailed as perhaps the  most diverse in all aspects, from race and ethnicity to gender to sexual orientation.

Compared to Congress 50 years ago, the difference is striking. Take a look at the photographs below, taken from the first days of the 88th and 113th sessions respectively.

 



In the House and Senate combined, about 16 percent of members identify as people of color. There are also 98 women serving in the 113th Congress, a notable jump from 50 years, when just 14 were in service. In 1963, minorities represented just 6 percent of the total makeup.

Click on the radio buttons below to toggle between the Congressional sessions and see the difference.

Sure, it's not a monumental difference when you look at the bigger picture, and especially when comparing to the actual U.S. population. According to Census figures, non-Hispanic whites make up 63.4 percent of the total population; Hispanics of any race make up 16.7 percent; African-Americans, 12.2 percent and Asian-Americans, 4.8 percent.

But we've got to start somewhere.

Congress Over 50 Years
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