Incoming Congress looks more like America

The 117th Congress will be the most diverse group of lawmakers ever to chart the nation's course when it meets in January after women and nonwhite candidates made gains in the November elections.

At least 121 women will be among the 441 members and delegates to the House of Representatives, with several races yet to be formally declared. And women will occupy 26 seats in the Senate — at least until the first woman who will serve as vice president, Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisBiden to record video message for 'Vax Live' concert Harris says Mexico, US can work together to improve quality of life in Northern Triangle Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms says 'it is time to pass the baton on to someone else' MORE (D-Calif.), resigns her seat.

White men still hold a majority of seats in Congress, but the next session will include 59 Black Americans, the highest number on record and up five from the previous Congress. Eighteen members of Asian descent and 45 who identify as Hispanic or Latino will serve, along with five Native Americans and one Native Hawaiian.


The new Congress will include the first three Korean American women ever to serve in Congress, Reps.-elect Michelle Steel (R-Calif.), Young Kim (R-Calif.) and Marilyn Strickland (D-Wash.).

The number of veterans who will serve in the new Congress continues a decades-long downward trend. Just under 90 members of the new Congress will have served in the nation's military, the lowest figure in modern memory. In the 1970s, at least 70 percent of lawmakers had served in the military, according to the Pew Research Center; today, that number is under 20 percent.

Congress remains a bastion for older Americans. The average member of the House of Representatives is 57.7 years old, while the average senator is 63.7 years of age. There is more than half a century between the nation’s oldest lawmakers — Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinIf you want Julie Su at the DOL, don't point to her resume Senate Democrats push Biden over raising refugee cap Lawmakers react to guilty verdict in Chauvin murder trial: 'Our work is far from done' MORE (D-Calif.), Sen. Richard ShelbyRichard Craig ShelbyRepublicans embrace Trump in effort to reclaim Senate Top Senate Democrat announces return of earmarks Senate GOP keeps symbolic earmark ban MORE (R-Ala.), Sen. Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyGrassley asks Blinken to provide potential conflicts involving John Kerry Overnight Defense: Gillibrand makes new push for military sexual assault reform | US troops begin leaving Afghanistan | Biden budget delay pushes back annual defense policy bill Gillibrand makes new push for military sexual assault reform MORE (R-Iowa) and Rep. Don YoungDonald (Don) Edwin YoungFive takeaways on the House's return to budget earmarks Does Biden have an ocean policy? McCarthy and Biden haven't spoken since election MORE (R-Alaska) — and the youngest, Rep.-elect Madison Cawthorn (R-N.C.).

The oldest Senate delegation will come from Vermont, where Sen. Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahySenate Democrats push Biden over raising refugee cap On The Money: Democratic scramble complicates Biden's human infrastructure plan | Progressives push on student debt relief No designated survivor chosen for Biden's joint address to Congress MORE (D) is 80 and Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersGOP is consumed by Trump conspiracy theories Manchin on collision course with Warren, Sanders Sanders on Cheney drama: GOP is an 'anti-democratic cult' MORE (I) is 79. The youngest hails from New Mexico, where Sen. Martin HeinrichMartin Trevor HeinrichSenate votes to nix Trump rule limiting methane regulation Senate Democrats push Biden over raising refugee cap Democrats battle over best path for Puerto Rico MORE (D) and Sen.-elect Ben Ray Luján (D) are both just under 50.

Using Pew’s definition of generations, which pegs the first millennials as those born in 1981, Cawthorn is among 31 members of the millennial generation who will serve in Congress. There are 160 members of Generation X in Congress, 296 baby boomers and 39 members of the silent generation still serving.