Hill Diversity


Joint Center’s New Data Showing Top Staff Racial Diversity of the 118th Congress by Age

July 24, 2023
Contact: Chandra Hayslett: chandra@jointcenter.org

Joint Center’s New Data Showing Top Staff Racial Diversity of the 118th Congress by Age

The analysis finds that the youngest members of Congress are more likely to hire diverse top staff
WASHINGTON – Today, the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies released Racial Diversity of the 118th Congress by Age, an analysis that disaggregates data on members of Congress by age and examines how they are faring when it comes to hiring diverse top staff.

This data shows that the youngest members of Congress tend to hire more diverse top staff than their older colleagues. In the House of Representatives, the youngest members (under 46 years old) employ the highest percentage of diversity among top staff (23.4 percent) and have the most representative top staffers when compared to the people of color in the districts they represent (27.1 percent).

In the Senate, although the youngest group of senators (60 and under) hires the highest percentage of top staffers of color (18.7 percent) on average compared to the other groups, it is not enough to compensate for the fact that those senators represent very diverse states (40 percent people of color). Due to this, they have the lowest diversity score of the Senate groups (-21.3) and are thus the least representative.

“It’s disheartening to see that members of Congress still aren’t hiring diverse top staff,” said Kimberly Victor, Joint Center research associate and author of the analysis. “Congressional members of all age groups have failed to hire top staff that matches the diversity of the districts and states they represent. Across all age groups, members of Congress should work to change the status quo and hire more diverse top staff.”

“The lack of racial diversity among congressional members continues to be appalling in a congressional body that’s the most diverse in history in one of the most racially diverse nations in the world,” said Dr. LaShonda Brenson, Joint Center senior researcher who leads the Joint Center’s congressional staff diversity work. “This is concerning because having diverse staff would allow Congress to more effectively represent its constituents. All members of Congress should continue to prioritize hiring diverse top staff to adequately represent their constituents and the country as a whole.”

The Joint Center continues to urge members of Congress to adopt a diversity plan, use diversity resources (such as the House Office on Diversity & Inclusion, the Senate Democratic Diversity Initiative, staff associations, and the Tri-Caucus nonprofit organizations), and establish a bipartisan Senate Diversity and Inclusion Office.

Read the Joint Center’s analysis here.


In November, the Joint Center launched its midterm hiring campaign, which includes a microsite featuring interactive tracking tools, reports, an explainer video, coalition letters, and a list of ways concerned citizens and members of Congress can get involved. The microsite allows users to learn how each new and returning member of Congress is faring when it comes to hiring diverse top staff (chiefs of staff, legislative directors, and communications directors) in their Washington, DC personal offices. The Joint Center regularly updates tracker data.

The Joint Center also sent letters signed by 70 national organizations and diversity stakeholders to new and returning members of Congress to advocate for increasing diversity among top and mid-level congressional staffers.

To view detailed data on top staff of color hired by newly-elected and returning members, click here.

To understand the problem of a lack of Hill staff diversity, why it matters, and solutions, click here.

About the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies

The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, America’s Black think tank, provides compelling and actionable policy solutions to eradicate persistent and evolving barriers to the full freedom of Black people in America. We are the trusted forum for leading experts and scholars to participate in major public policy debates and promote ideas that advance Black communities. We use evidence-based research, analysis, convenings, and strategic communications to support Black communities and a network of allies.