This report, "Racial Diversity Among Top Staff in the U.S. House of Representatives," provides evidence regarding the lack of racial diversity among top staff in the U.S. House of Representatives. This report defines top staff as chiefs of staff, legislative directors, and communications directors in the Washington, D.C. personal offices of U.S. House members; chiefs of staff, policy directors, and communications directors in the top leadership offices of each political party; and staff directors assigned to full committees. The data reflects House employment on June 30, 2022. Key findings show:
- People of color account for 40 percent of the U.S. population, but only 18 percent of all top House staff.
- Of the 308 personal offices of white members, only 23 (7.4 percent) are led by chiefs of staff of color. Thirteen work for Democratic members, and ten for Republican members.
- In the personal offices of white Democratic members, 14.8 percent of top staff are people of color, even though these offices represent districts that are, on average, over 38.9 percent people of color. Similarly, 3.2 percent of white Democratic members’ top staffers are Black.
- In the personal offices of white Republican members, only 5.1 percent of top staff are people of color, even though these members represent districts that are, on average, 25.7 percent people of color. Similarly, 1.1 percent of these members’ top staffers are Black.
- No Asian American/Pacific Islander (AAPI), biracial, Middle Eastern/North African (MENA), or Native American serves in any of the 41 committee staff director positions or any of the 20 top staff positions in the top leadership offices of either party.
- Congressional Black Caucus members are responsible for 80 percent (four of the five) of Black staff directors hired to full committees in the U.S. House.
- Members who belong to more left-leaning caucuses have more top staff of color than members of more conservative caucuses. People of color make up 40 percent of the top staffers who work for members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, compared with 23.6 percent of top staffers who work for Blue Dog Coalition members. Only 9.2 percent of top staffers who work for members of the House Freedom Caucus are people of color, but that percentage is higher than the 5.1 percent of top staffers who work for white Republican members as a whole.
- Between 2018 and 2022, the percentage of people of color in House personal office top staff positions increased from 13.7 percent to 18 percent. We observed increases in diversity in all top positions in House personal offices, but the most significant increase was among legislative directors, which increased by almost seven percentage points.
This report was covered in The Hill and Roll Call.