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The United States House of Representatives

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The Young Elected Leaders Project (YELP) studies and works with young people who run for public office. At its launch in 2002, the project involved constructing a database of young elected officials, conducting a survey and convening a conference of young leaders, and issuing a report entitled Political Generation Next: America’s Young Elected Leaders. Currently, YELP is led by Dr. Elizabeth Matto, Assistant Research Professor and Director of Eagleton’s Youth Political Participation Program, with a team of undergraduate researchers.

Young Elected Leaders (YELs) are individuals, ages 35 or younger, who hold elected public office.

YELP acknowledges and thanks the Center for American Women & Politics of the Eagleton Institute of Politics for sharing data related to current elected officials.

Table of Contents

  1. Generational Breakdown of the United State House of Representatives
  2. Partisanship of the United States House in Representatives
  3. Gender of the United States House of Representatives
  4. Ethnicity of the United Sates House of Representatives

 


Generational Breakdown of the United States House of Representatives

Currently, the United State House of Representatives contains members from four different generations:

  • Millennial Generation: Post-1976
  • Generation-x: 1965-1976
  • Baby Boomer: 1946-1964
  • WWII Generation: Pre-1946

YELP follows the generational distinctions used by The Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement and Zukin et. al.’s A New Engagement?: Political Participation, Civic Life, and the Changing American Citizen (2006).

The current generation, the Millennial Generation, has overtaken the Baby Boomer Generation as the largest generation.

How does the generational breakdown of the US House of Representatives compare to that of the general population?

Generation - Population

Source: Pew Research Center, ‘The Whys and Hows of Generations Research’, http://www.people-press.org/2015/09/03/the-whys-and-hows-of-generations-research/

Note: The Pew Research Center utilizes different generation distinctions than Zukin et al.:

  • Millennial Generation: Post-1980
  • Generation-X: 1965-1980
  • Baby Boomer: 1946-1964
  • WWII Generation: Pre-1946

Gen Break Tot

Generational Breakdown of the US House of Representatives
Generation Number of Representatives
Millennial Generation 19
Generation-X 89
Baby Boomer 275
WWII Generation 52
  • The average age of the US House of Representatives is 58
  • The youngest member is 31 (Elise Stefanik)
  • The oldest members are 86 (John Conyers and Louise Slaughter)
  • 9 individuals are Young Elected Leaders
  • 19 individuals are from the Millennial Generation

 

The Baby Boomer Generation holds a majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, which is disproportional given the fact that the Millennial Generation is larger — in fact, the Millennial Generation is a minority in the U.S. House  compared to the other three generations.

 

 

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Partisanship of the United States House of Representatives

The United States is a two-party system with the Democrats and Republicans as the two dominant parties. Currently, a plurality of the United States identifies as Democrat while Republicans and Independents comprise the remaining amount.

How does the partisanship breakdown of the U.S. House of Representatives compare with that of the general population?

 

 

American National Election Studies, 'Party Identification 3-Point Scale', http://www.electionstudies.org/nesguide/toptable/tab2a_2.htm

American National Election Studies, ‘Party Identification 3-Point Scale’, http://www.electionstudies.org/nesguide/toptable/tab2a_2.htm

Partisanship by Generation of the US Population
Source: Pew Research Center, ‘The Whys and Hows of Generations Research’, http://www.people-press.org/2015/09/03/the-whys-and-hows-of-generations-research/

Source: Pew Research Center, ‘The Whys and Hows of Generations Research’, http://www.people-press.org/2015/09/03/the-whys-and-hows-of-generations-research/

 

 

Part tot

Partisanship of the US House of Representatives
Party Number of Representatives
Democrat 188
Republican 247

 

 

Part YEL

Partisanship of Young Elected Leaders
Party Affiliation Number of Representatives
Democrat 4
Republican 5

 

Partisanship by Generation of the US House of Representatives

Part Gen

Partisanship by Generation
Generation Number of Democrats Number of Republicans
Millennial Generation 8 11
Generation-X 29 60
Baby Boomer 114 161
WWII Generation 37 15

 

Currently, the Republican Party holds a majority in the U.S. House of Representatives. This contrasts with the U.S. population where a majority of individuals identify as Democrats. Although a large number of citizens identify as Independent, there are no Independent representatives in the U.S. House. As such, the partisanship breakdown of the US House does not align with the partisanship breakdown of the U.S. population as a whole.

Additionally, the partisanship of YELs leans in favor of the Republican party while the party identification of young people shows that a majority are Democrat while the remaining are a mixture of both Republican and Independent.

 

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Gender of the United States House of Representatives

Overall, there is a negligible difference between the number of men and women within the United States. Similarly, the breakdown of gender generationally (with the exception of the WWII Generation, which has a slightly larger gap) is almost a 50/50 split.

How does the gender breakdown of the US House of Representatives compare with that of the general population?

 

Gender USSource: 2010 US Census

Note: Calculation only includes the adult voting population (i.e. 18+)

 

Gender by Generation of the US Population

Gender Gen USSource: 2010 US Census

Note: Calculation only includes the adult voting population (i.e. 18+)

 

Gender tot

Gender of the US House of Representatives
Gender Number of Representatives
Men 351
Women 84

 

Gender YEL

Gender of Young Elected Leaders
Gender Number of Representatives
Men 7
Women 2

 

Gender by Generation of the US House of Representatives

Gender GEN

Gender by Generation
Generation Number of Men Number of Women
Millennial Generation 16 3
Generation-X 75 14
Baby Boomer 225 50
WWII Generation 35 17

 

Historically, the U.S. House of Representatives has been dominated by men. This appears to be the continuing trend — in contrast to a population that is an almost even split between men and women. As such, there is a disjoint between the gender breakdown of the U.S. House and the gender breakdown of the U.S. population as a whole.

Similarly, more than three-fourths of YELs are male, which is not representative of the gender breakdown of young people in which the population of men and women is roughly half and half.

 

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Ethnicity of the United States House of Representatives

The United States is filled with many different ethnicities and the Millennial generation, as a whole, is indicative of this. Not only is the Millennial Generation currently the largest generation, but it is also the most ethnically diverse.

How does the ethnic breakdown of the U.S. House of Representatives compare to that of the general population?

 

Ethincity pop

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2010

Note: Hispanic or Latino (of any race) makes up 16.3% of the U.S. population

Ethnicity by Generation of the US Population

Ethnicity Gen USSource: Pew Research Center tabulations of the 2014 March Current Population Survey from the Integrated Public Use Microdata Series (IPUMS)

Note: Calculation only includes the adult voting population (i.e. 18+)


Ethnicity tot

Ethnicity Number of Representatives
Asian/Pacific American 8
Black/African American 42
Hawaiian/Pacific Islander 1
Hispanic/Latino 29
Indian/Native American 2
Other 1
Two or More Races 1
White/Caucasian 351

 

Ethnicity YEL

Ethnicity of Young Elected Leaders
Ethnicity Number of Representatives
Asian/Pacific American 0
Black/African American 0
Hawaiian/Pacific Islander 1
Hispanic/Latino 1
Indian/Native American 0
Other 0
Two or More Races 0
White/Caucasian 7
 
Ethnicity by Generation of the US House of Representatives

Ethnicity gen

Ethnicity by Generation
Ethnicity Millennial Generation Generation-X Baby Boomer WWII Generation
Asian/Pacific American 0 4 2 2
Black/African American 0 6 24 12
Hawaiian/Pacific Islander 1 0 0 0
Hispanic/Latino 4 8 13 4
Indian/Native American 1 0 0 0
Other 0 1 1 0
Two or More Races 0 0 1 0
White/Caucasian 13 70 234 34

While Whites/Caucasians are a majority ethnicity both within the U.S. population and the U.S. House of Representatives, the other ethnic groups are disproportionately represented. As such, the ethnic breakdown of the U.S. House does not mirror the ethnic breakdown of the U.S. population as a whole.

In comparison, a majority of YELs in the US House are Whites/Caucasians with a small percentage being of a minority ethnicity. This is not representative of the ethnic breakdown of the Millennial Generation.

 

 

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