Sep 25, 2018 - Politics & Policy

The 2019 Congress could shatter diversity records

Data: United by Interest; Chart: Chris Canipe/Axios
Data: United by Interest; Chart: Chris Canipe/Axios

If Democrats take back the House in November, 2019 could have more minority representatives in Congress than it's had in its 230-year history.

Why it matters: Congress would finally start to look more like the country it represents.

The big picture: 50 years ago, white men made up 97% of the House, Washington-based lobbying firm United by Interest outlines in their latest diversity memo, obtained first by Axios.

  • But in 2017 (the latest recorded data), racial and ethnic minorities represented more than 45% of House Democrats, and women made up one-third of the Democratic chamber.
  • Both numbers, which have been on a steady rise for years (as depicted in the above chart), are expected to grow this year, thanks to a historically high number of women candidates running in the 2018 midterm elections and groundbreaking primary wins by minority Democrats who overthrew their white incumbent challengers.
  • Compare this to 2016: According to United by Interest, 40% of Hillary Clinton voters were minorities, while 88% of Donald Trump's voters were white.

The other side: While voters across the country are increasingly choosing to elect candidates who look like them, the media covering Congress are still lagging far behind with regard to diversity.

  • According to a survey last year by the American Society of News Editors, 83% of the workforce at U.S. daily print and online media outlets is white, and 87% of leadership positions are occupied by white reporters and editors.
  • Meanwhile, men represent 61% of the workforce at those news outlets, and a similar share of the industry’s leadership positions, according to the survey.

Go deeper: Meet Congress' potential history-makers in 2019.

Go deeper