Blacks Are Vastly Underrepresented in Staff Positions in the U.S. Senate

The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies in Washington, D.C. has released a new report on the diversity of staff members in the United States Senate.

People of color make up 41.1 percent of the U.S. population, but only 15.8 percent of all Senate personal office top staff. African Americans account for 13.6 percent of the U.S. population, but only 2.1 percent of Senate personal office top staffers.

Between 2020 and 2023, the overall percentage of personal office top staff of color increased from 11.0 percent to 15.8 percent, but the percentage of African American top staff decreased. The percentage of African American top staff decreased from 3.1 percent to 2.1 percent.

African Americans are 19.0 percent of Democratic registered voters, but only 2.1 percent of Democratic Senate personal office top staff. Of the 100 chiefs of staff in the U.S. Senate, only one is Black.

On average, African Americans account for 24.7 percent of the residents and 39.3 percent of the 2016 Democratic Party turnout in Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia, all states with two Democratic senators. But none of the 17 top staff positions in the Senate personal offices of these states is Black

In Georgia, Louisiana, and Mississippi — the three states with the highest share of African American residents that are represented by two Republican U.S. Senators — there are no Black top staff.

None of the Black top staff hired as of January 2020 were retained as of June 2023.

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