Newly-Elected House Members Hire Top Staff of Color at Higher Rate Than Sitting House Members, Senate Staff Diversity Lags Behind

While a September 2018 Joint Center report showed that people of color accounted for only 13.7 percent of U.S. House top staffers, the Joint Center’s Live Tracker now reflects that 31.3 percent of top staffers hired so far by newly-elected U.S. House Members are people of color. 

Newly-elected Senators have yet to hire any top staff of color, though three of them represent states with populations well over 40 percent of color (Arizona, Florida, and Nevada). So far, the recruitment of diverse top staffers by newly-elected House Members, at 31.3 percent,  lags behind the national population (38 percent of color), but is higher than the top staff of earlier House Members (13.7 percent). For House Democrats: People of color accounted for 43.8 percent of top staff hired by its newly-elected, compared to 24.6 percent of top staff employed by House Democrats in the Joint Center’s Sept. 2018 report. House Republicans staff members of color accounted for6.3 percent of top staff hired by newly-elected House Republicans, compared to 4 percent employed in September.

In all, the Joint Center has tracked 12 top staffers of color hired by returning Members of Congress — including a Latino chief of staff hired by Senator Catherine Cortez-Masto and an AAPI chief of staff hired by Senator Kamala Harris. 

New Members of Congress have an opportunity to increase diversity among top congressional staff significantly, as they could hire over 300 top staff positions (chiefs of staff, legislative directors, and communications directors).


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