New LegiStorm Data Finds Freshmen House Members Hire More Diverse Staff Than Their Senior Colleagues
Joint Center Data Confirms Top Staff Hiring Also More Diverse
Last week, LegiStorm, a web-based platform that identifies congressional staff and monitors activity on Capitol Hill, published a blog comparing staff hiring by new Members of Congress and their longer-serving colleagues. According to LegiStorm data, 47 percent of newly-elected Democratic House Members’ staffers are people of color, compared to 35 percent of all Democratic House staffers. Among newly-elected Republican House Members, 11 percent of staffers are nonwhite, compared to 8 percent of all Republican House staffers.
Data collected by the Joint Center shows this trend extends to top staff positions. As of February 10, the Joint Center’s report card tracking top staff hires (i.e. chiefs of staff, legislative directors, and communications directors) by each new House Member shows that 23 percent are people of color, compared to 14 percent of top staff for all Members of the House in our 2018 report. By comparison, people of color account for 40 percent of the U.S. population.
We also found that newly-elected House Members have hired more diverse top staff than did House Members who were freshmen two years ago. People of color currently account for 55 percent of top staff hired by newly-elected House Democrats, compared to 26 percent of top staff employed by newly-elected House Democrats two years ago. People of color currently account for 13 percent of top staff hired by newly-elected House Republicans, compared to 7 percent of top staff employed by newly-elected House Republicans two years ago. Charts reflecting our analysis can be found below.
Table 1: Democratic Voters, Overall Staff Diversity, and Top Staff Diversity
Table 2: Republican Voters, Overall Staff Diversity, and Top Staff Diversity
To understand the problem of a lack of Hill staff diversity, why it matters, and solutions, click here.
To see the Joint Center’s research and activities on Hill staff diversity (including our tool tracking the racial diversity of hires to fill the over 200 open top staff positions of newly-elected House and Senate Members), click here.
*Sources: CNN.com (2020 General Election Exit Poll Data), Cook Political Report; Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies (2018 House Report); Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies (Report Card) and some figures were calculated by Joint Center staff using a combination of the aforementioned sources.