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113th Congress mirrors increasingly diverse U.S.
More women, ethnic minorities among those storming Hill
Question of the Day
While diversity has been the early watchword for the new Congress, a Pew Research Center survey of the new members found that Protestants still make up a majority of lawmakers who expressed a religious affiliation, although the percentage declined from 57.3 percent in the 112th Congress to 56.4 percent now. Every Protestant denomination listed saw its numbers fall or stay the same except for Baptists, who added six new members and now make up 14 percent of the new Congress.
The number of Catholic lawmakers increased, while the number of Jewish members fell from 39 to 32, according to Pew’s calculations.
The number of lawmakers who declined to list any religious preference rose from six to 11 in the Pew survey, although Congress lost its only avowed atheist when Rep. Pete Stark, California Democrat, lost his bid for a 20th term to Mr. Swalwell in November.
The shifting faith profile of Congress “continues a gradual increase in religious diversity that mirrors trends in the country as a whole,” according to the Pew researchers. “While Congress remains majority Protestant, the institution is far less so today than it was 50 years ago, when nearly three-quarters of the members belonged to Protestant denominations.”
Other notable firsts and milestones from the new Congress:
• First openly gay U.S. senator: Former Rep. Tammy Baldwin, Wisconsin Democrat, who will be joined by six openly gay House members, all Democrats
• First Buddhist senator: Former Rep. Mazie K. Hirono, Hawaii Democrat.
• First openly bisexual House member: Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, Arizona Democrat.
• First Hindu House member: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, Hawaii Democrat.
• First female combat veterans: Ms. Gabbard and Rep. Tammy Duckworth, Illinois Democrat.
• Most female lawmakers: 101, including three nonvoting delegates.
• Average age of senators: 61.
• Average age of House members: 56.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Raised in Northern Virginia, David R. Sands received an undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia and a master’s degree from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He worked as a reporter for several Washington-area business publications before joining The Washington Times.
At The Times, Mr. Sands has covered numerous beats, including international trade, banking, politics ...
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