A new report from the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies has found that there is a severe lack of racial diversity among top staff in the United States House of Representatives. While people of color make up 38 percent of the country’s population, they only make up 13.7 percent of all House top staff.
The fact that African Americans and members of other racial and ethnic minority groups are having so little impact and influence in the hall of Congress, can have an impact on educational issues that come before the legislative body.
This disparity is prominent across both political parties. For the Democratic party, only 7.4 percent of top staff are members of underrepresented groups, whereas 37.4 percent of the population of the districts represented by these congressional representatives are members of underrepresented groups. For Republicans, only 3 percent of top staff are racial or ethnic minorities, whereas 25 percent of the populations of their districts are from underrepresented groups.
Almost 75 percent, 313 members, of the House have no top staff members who are members of racial or ethnic minority groups. Much of the Democratic party’s staff diversity comes from the Congressional Black Caucus. While 53 percent of Congressional Black Caucus members’ top staffers are Black, only 2 percent of White Democratic members’ top staffers are Black.
“These findings demonstrate a profound and appalling lack of diversity and inclusion in what is supposed to be our most representative branch of government,” said Don Bell, Director of the Joint Center Black Talent Initiative. “It is clear that there is an urgent need for action. The people’s House cannot claim to be truly representative of the nation it serves without an immediate move to increase transparency and adopt a comprehensive bipartisan plan to address the lack of diversity and inclusion in the chamber.”