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 says Roe v. Wade under attack like 'never before' Tlaib blasts Biden judicial nominee whose firm sued environmental lawyer These Senate seats are up for election in 2022 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.

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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 FeinsteinOvernight Energy & Environment — Starting from 'scratch' on climate, spending bill Senate panel advances bill blocking tech giants from favoring own products Eight senators ask Biden to reverse course on Trump-era solar tariffs MORE (D-Calif.), Sen. Richard ShelbyRichard Craig ShelbyThese Senate seats are up for election in 2022 Negotiators report progress toward 2022 spending deal Johnson, Thune signal GOP's rising confidence MORE (R-Ala.), Sen. Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyThese Senate seats are up for election in 2022 Hillicon Valley — Senate panel advances major antitrust bill Senate panel advances bill blocking tech giants from favoring own products MORE (R-Iowa) and Rep. Don YoungDonald (Don) Edwin YoungWest Virginia lawmaker slams GOP colleague over support for infrastructure law Congress to take up marijuana reform this spring Thanks to President Biden, infrastructure is bipartisan again — it needs to stay that way 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 LeahyThese Senate seats are up for election in 2022 Senate panel advances bill blocking tech giants from favoring own products Former US attorney considering Senate run in Vermont as Republican MORE (D) is 80 and Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersSunday shows preview: US reaffirms support for Ukraine amid threat of Russian invasion Filibuster becomes new litmus test for Democrats Gallego says he's been approached about challenging Sinema MORE (I) is 79. The youngest hails from New Mexico, where Sen. Martin HeinrichMartin Trevor HeinrichDemocrats torn over pushing stolen-election narrative Overnight Energy & Environment — Starting from 'scratch' on climate, spending bill Eight senators ask Biden to reverse course on Trump-era solar tariffs 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.

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