By the numbers
The rate of demographic change in Congress has skyrocketed since around 1990, a new analysis from Pew Research shows, and members of Congress today are significantly more diverse, less likely to have a military record, and more likely to have attended college than the Congresses of years past.
Women now hold a record share of congressional seats — 83 in the House and 21 in the Senate, with an average of 19 percent across both houses. Though the House became slightly more male in the 2016 elections, more women in the Senate means that percentage is still the highest ever, tied with the previous congressional session.
Religious and ethnic diversity has also steadily increased in recent decades, while military service records have declined precipitously. As recently as 1975, 75 percent of members of both houses had direct military experience; today, the average is 19 percent. Arguably replacing the military as a standard preparation for congressional service is college degree completion, which is now at 100 percent in the Senate and 95 percent in the House.