A Visual Look at Today's Congress Compared to 50 Years Ago

National Journal

The 113th Congress, sworn in Thursday, is hailed as perhaps the  most diverse in all aspects, from race and ethnicity to gender to sexual orientation.

Compared to Congress 50 years ago, the difference is striking. Take a look at the photographs below, taken from the first days of the 88th and 113th sessions respectively.

AP/Wide World Photos

House chamber, Opening of the 88th congress

Rick Bloom

Opening of the 113th Congress.



In the House and Senate combined, about 16 percent of members identify as people of color. There are also 98 women serving in the 113th Congress, a notable jump from 50 years, when just 14 were in service. In 1963, minorities represented just 6 percent of the total makeup.

Click on the radio buttons below to toggle between the Congressional sessions and see the difference.

Sure, it's not a monumental difference when you look at the bigger picture, and especially when comparing to the actual U.S. population. According to Census figures, non-Hispanic whites make up 63.4 percent of the total population; Hispanics of any race make up 16.7 percent; African-Americans, 12.2 percent and Asian-Americans, 4.8 percent.

But we've got to start somewhere.

View Comments (62)