Hill Diversity

Ron Cogswell U

Racial Diversity Among Top House Staff

Today, the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies released Racial Diversity Among Top U.S. House Staff.

The report examines racial diversity among top staff in Washington, DC offices of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Click on the following for:

A 2-page summary

The full 37-page report

An appendix of additional data

Key findings:

  • People of color make up 38% of the U.S. population, but only 13.7% of all top House staff.
  • Both White Democrats and White Republicans hire overwhelmingly White top staff, even though their districts are surprisingly diverse.
  • Latina/o Members represent districts that are much more Latino than their top staff.
  • There are no Latinas/os, AAPIs, or Native Americans who serve as full committee staff directors or leadership office chiefs of staff, policy directors, or communications directors.
  • Women account for almost 61% of Black top staffers, almost 45% of Latina/o tops staffers, and just over 31% of AAPI top staffers.

To increase diversity, House Members should:

  • Develop a written office diversity plan.
  • Track and disclose staff demographic data.
  • Interview at least one candidate of color for each vacant senior position (the “Rooney Rule”).
  • Recruit diverse interns and pay them.
  • Build a diverse pipeline of mid-level staff.
  • Obtain unconscious bias training for the Member and managerial staff.
  • Support bipartisan reforms that would require all Members of Congress to adopt these recommendations, and would appoint a congressional chief diversity officer.

Media coverage:

New York Times, Nick Fandos (September 11, 2018)  “In an Increasingly Diverse House, Aides Remain Remarkably White

Roll Call, Alex Gangitano (September 11, 2018), “Report: Nearly Three Quarters of the House Have No Senior Staffers of Color

The National Journal, Harrison Cramer (September 11, 2018)“Study:House Staff Less Diverse than House Members

Political Wire, Taegan Goddard (September 11 2018) “Congressional Staff is Even Less Diverse than Congress

Roland Martin Unfiltered (September 11, 2018) View the video here.

The Hill, Tal Axelrod (September 12, 2018) “Study: Overwhelming Majority of House Aides are White

The Huffington Post, Nick Visser (September 12, 2018) “Most Senior Aides to House Lawmakers are Still Very White, Study Finds

The Seattle Medium, Stacy Brown (September 12, 2018) “New Report: People of Color Nearly Absent from Top U.S. Staff

Politico, Jake Sherman, Anna Palmer and Daniel Lippman (September 12, 2018) “POLITICO Playbook: Top House Democrat pitches quick passage of ethics package”

Epeak World News, (September 12, 2018) “Most Senior Aides To House Lawmakers Are Still Very White, Study Finds”

Bustle, Joseph D. Lysons (September 12, 2018)  “Racial Representation In Congress Is An Issue That Extends To Staffers Too, A New Study Shows”

Politico, Nolan D. McCaskill (September 12, 2018) “CONSERVATIVE GROUPS COORDINATE TO PUSH JORDAN FOR SPEAKER — Top House staffers overwhelmingly white — HOYER TO PITCH REFORM BILL — Bush launching fundraising tour”

NBC News, Suzanne Gamboa (September 12, 2018) “Few minorities, only 45 Latinos, in U.S. House’s top staff jobs, report says”

Howard Newsroom, Misha Cornelius (September 12, 2018) Chilling Study Reveals the American Public is More Likely to Elect People of Color to the U.S. House than House Members are to Hire Top Staff of Color

Roll Call, Mary C. Curtis (September 13, 2018)  “Midterms Show We’re Not Any Closer to a Post-Racial America”

InsideSources, Michael McGrady (September 14, 2018) Paying House Interns Could Tap Vital Talent

Capital Wire PR (September 15, 2018) NEW REPORT FINDS PEOPLE OF COLOR NEARLY ABSENT FROM TOP STAFF POSITIONS IN U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

Gloucester Daily Times, Mary C. Curtis (September 21, 2018) Midterms show we’re not any closer to a post-racial America

India Abroad, Aziz Haniffa (September 21, 2018) Bera, Khanna and Krishnamoorthi push back at think tank’s criticism of House hiring practices 

PoliticsNation (September 23, 2018) View the video here.

Civil Eats, Randi Pink (September 26, 2018) Birmingham’s ‘Food Deserts’ Have Been Shaped by its Redlined Past


The Hill, Andres Bascumbe (October 2, 2018)A response to the US House racial diversity report


The Hill, Tess Bonn (October 3, 2018) Increasing racial diversity in Congress not about ‘charity,’ says policy expert


GovLoop, Laura Girardin (October 4, 2018)5 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT FEDERAL NEWS FROM THE PAST MONTH


The Washington Post, Elise Viebeck and Gabriel Pogrund (October 9, 2018) Amid Kavanaugh uproar, changes to Congress’s sexual harassment rules stall

Hashtags: #HouseStaffDiversity, #DiversityOnTheHill

For all press inquiries, contact press@jointcenter.org

About Joint Center

The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, America’s Black think tank, is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded in 1970 and based in Washington, DC. The Joint Center's mission is to inform and illuminate the nation's major public policy debates through research, analysis, and information dissemination in order to improve the socioeconomic status of Black communities in the United States; expand their effective participation in the political and public policy arenas; and promote communication and relationships across racial and ethnic lines to strengthen the nation's pluralistic society.