While President Obama has been criticized for not choosing a diverse enough cabinet for his second term, his extended administration just might be the most diverse of all time. Though, considering history, that might not be saying much. When National Journal conducted its Decision Makers survey in 2001, 59 percent of the top officials in the Bush Administration were white males.
In the current survey of Decision Makers (a National Journal selection of 250 officials), just 48 percent were white males. This is down four percentage points from our 2009 survey (although that had a larger sample size, and our selection of Decision Makers isn't a random assortment). We don't have the data to prove it, but it's safe to say this is probably the first time white men are in the minority in high-ranking positions.
Where white males lose footing in the second-term administration, white females, blacks, and hispanic gain. Blacks in the Administration are approaching numbers representing the population at large. According to the Census Bureau, 13.6 percent of Americans are black. Thirteen percent of Obama's top decision makers are black as well. Women, however, are still underrepresented in respect to their portion of the population, as demonstrated in the chart below.
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- Ethnic Groups
- President Obama
- National Journal