Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Senate Will Now Be 18% LDS or Jewish

Dean Heller, a Republican Member of the House, will be the newest United States Senator -- he's been now announced to replace the resigning, scandal-ridden John Ensign.

Heller will be the sixth LDS Senator in the current Congress, while his upgrade will lower the number of Mormons in the House to only nine (assuming these data from Pew are correct and up to date). There are also 12 Jewish Senators, compared to 27 Jews in the House. Combined total: 18% . Both of course are massively overrepresented compared to their population in the nation as a whole, where both are just at 1.7%. 

Who is underrepresented in Congress? That's easy: "unaffiliated." That category makes up 16% of all Americans, but absolutely no one in Congress (there's one refuse-to-state Senator). 

Both Catholics (24 Senators, 24% of population) and Protestants in general (56, 51%) are well matched. The flip side of the Jews and Mormons are Anglicans and Episcopalians, who make up 8.5% of the House but have only 4 Senators (compared to 1.5% of the population, although it is true that readers of the Sunday NYT Weddings listings might expect that Jews and Episcopalians to be closer to a combined 50% of the population, not 3%). Among Protestants, in general, it's the mainline denominations that are overrepresented in the Senate (in addition to the Anglican/Episcopalians, lots of Methodists and Presbyterians, relatively few Baptists and no Pentacostals).

No major point to be made about this; I just like Congressional demographic information, so I figured I'd pass some along. I suspect that the Jews & LDS differences between the House and Senate are just random luck, although the differences between Congress and the population at large are certainly systematic.


  1. While this doesn't change the fact that non-affiliated is massively under-represented, Pete Stark (D-CA) is an open atheist.

  2. And then there's the 5 papists in the Supremes. How many of them are Opus Dei? Is there a lefty version of that group for liberal Catholics to belong to?

  3. There are actually six Catholics on the SCOTUS--though Thomas had a decade-long flirtation with Episcopalianism.

  4. I'd like to a see a comparison of voting records with the declared doctrine of their faiths.

  5. For those who are interested, check out the chapter in my book - Personal Roots of Representation - showing how religion influences legislators' actions.

  6. Wiki only has 11 Jewish Senators (Cardin, Kohl, Franken, Schumer, Wyden, Levin, Boxer, Feinstein, Sanders, Lieberman, Blumenthal). Are you counting Bennet?

  7. Oh, you know what it was? I searched for "Jewish" and Lieberman is under "orthodox Judaism". You could arguably count Bennet as Jewish by Jewish standards (Jewish mother).


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