FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 21, 2020
Joint Center Launches Interactive Tool Showing
Diversity of Top Staff of New Members of Congress
So Far, Newly-Elected House Members Hiring Fewer Top Staff of Color Than Two Years Ago
WASHINGTON – The Joint Center launched its interactive tracking tool allowing users to learn how each new Member of Congress is faring when it comes to hiring diverse top staff in their Washington, DC offices (chiefs of staff, legislative directors, and communications directors).
Previous Joint Center research shows that while people of color account for 40 percent of the U.S. population, they account for only 13.7 percent of U.S. House personal office top staffers and 11 percent in the U.S. Senate.
The tool arrives at a critical moment to increase staff diversity. Currently, newly-elected Members of the U.S. House and Senate are preparing to take office and are hiring to fill over 200 top staff positions.
According to the Joint Center’s tracker, a total of 55 of 201 (or 27.4 percent) possible positions have already been filled.
Newly-Elected Senators Hiring More Top Staff of Color So Far
The Joint Center’s Tracker of Racial Diversity of Top Staff Hires in 117th Congress shows that, so far, hiring of diverse top staffers by newly-elected Senators (16.7 percent) still lags behind the nation’s population of color (40 percent), but is higher than both hiring by newly-elected Senators two years ago (7.7 percent) and the entire U.S. Senate (11 percent). The map can be found above.
Racial Diversity of Top Staff of Newly-Elected Members in the U.S. House (Map)
Newly-Elected House Members Hiring Fewer Top Staff of Color So Far
So far, hiring of diverse top staffers by newly-elected House Members (11.4 percent) lags behind the national population (40 percent of color), the top staff of newly-elected House Members two years ago (19.85 percent of color), and the top staff of the entire House in 2018 (13.7 percent of color).
The lag by newly-elected House Members remains when you break the numbers down by political party. (There are not enough new U.S. Senators to make a fair comparison breakdown by political party).<
House Democrats: People of color accounted for 13.3 percent of top staff hired by newly-elected House Democrats (15 total), compared to 25.84 percent of top staff employed by freshman House Democrats two years ago.
House Republicans: People of color accounted for 10.7 percent of top staff hired by newly-elected House Republicans (45 total), compared to 7.14 percent of top staff employed by freshman House Republicans two years ago.
Note: We did not include Iowa’s 2nd congressional district and New York’s 22nd congressional district in our tracker, as the results of these races are still being challenged.
The Joint Center updates tracker data regularly.
To view detailed data on top staff of color hired by newly-elected Members, click here.
For more information on our current congressional staff diversity hiring campaign, click here.