Although this year's House freshmen are sharply divided by ideology, they are united by one striking measure: Many of them are filthy rich. The Center for Responsive Politics found that 60 percent of Senate freshmen and 40 percent of House freshmen were worth $1 million or more. The statistics prove that Congress is populated "overwhelmingly with millionaires and near-millionaires who often own multiple homes," says Dan Eggen at The Washington Post. Here, a look at the numbers behind the congressional millionaires' club:
Number of new House members in the 112th Congress
Approximate share of House freshmen who are millionaires
Number of new senators in the 112th Congress
Share of Senate freshmen who are millionaires
Approximate share of ordinary Americans who are millionaires
Median estimated wealth of a Senate freshman
Median estimated wealth of a House freshman
Median estimated wealth of an American over the age of 18 (2005)
The estimated combined worth of the full freshman class of the 112th Congress
Estimated personal wealth of Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), the richest freshman. His wealth comes mainly from his wife's family, whose real estate holdings reportedly include the Empire State Building.
Estimated net worth of the poorest freshman lawmaker, Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.). Walsh, who lost his condo to foreclosure in 2009, is the only freshman in the red. He calls this a "badge of honor."
Number of freshmen who own stock in General Electric. Eleven invest in Bank of America, while 9 freshmen each invested in AT&T, Cisco, Johnson & Johnson, Microsoft, and Procter & Gamble.
Between $1 million and $5 million
Amount of money collectively invested in Citibank by freshman lawmakers
Number of millionaires in the last Congress, out of a total of 535 members
Median wealth of all members in the last Congress
Estimated wealth of the richest member of Congress, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), in 2009
Sources: OpenSecrets.org (2), Washington Post, CNBC, Politico, U.S. Census
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- How U.S. special forces are preparing for the worst-case scenario in North Korea
- Why you should really take a nap this afternoon, according to science
- Why Israel can no longer let the Palestinian Authority be responsible for security in the West Bank
- Why you shouldn't eat dog. Not even once.
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- How social conservatives became a minority in need of protection
- The safest seats are at the back of the plane — and 5 other surprising facts about airline crashes
- Here's the schedule very successful people follow every day
- Why charity can't solve society's deepest problems
- I hate Ayn Rand — but here's why my fellow conservatives love her
Subscribe to the Week