Jul 14, 2021 - Politics & Policy

By the numbers: Senate staff diversity

Most diverse Democratic Senate staffs
Data: Senate Diversity Initiative; Chart: Axios Visuals Note: Numbers do not add to 100 due to staffers identifying with multiple racial/ethnic groups

Thirty-eight percent of the staff members for Senate Democrats identify as non-Caucasian — up from 35% in 2020, according to new data released by the caucus.

By the numbers: Sens. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) and Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) have the least-white staff teams.

  • About half of the staff of Hirono and fellow Hawaii Sen. Brian Schatz identify as Asian American/Pacific Islander and nearly a quarter as Native American. It's reflective of the state they represent, which is 48% Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander, according to census data.
  • Two freshmen — Sens. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) and Alex Padilla (D-Calif.)— come in third and fourth for staffs with the most people of color, and most senators in the top 10 are people of color themselves.
  • Some 14% of Democratic Senate staffers identify as LGBTQ, according to the same data.

What they're saying: “Senate Democrats understand the importance of hiring staff that reflect the increasing diversity of the communities we represent," Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said in a statement.

  • "We’ve made some significant progress this past year, but much work remains to increase congressional staff diversity and ensure that every voice is heard and adequately represented in the halls of Congress."
  • Schumer has now published data on the racial and ethnic makeup of senatorial staffers five years in a row.
  • Republicans do not publish any similar data.

Editor’s note: This data visualization and story have been corrected to reflect staffers who identify with multiple racial/ethnic groups, creating a greater percentage of Caucasian staffers for some senators. The top 10 most-diverse Democratic Senate staffs remain the same, but their order has been adjusted.

Go deeper