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Age of the 117th Congress

This page was originally posted in 2017. We updated the data for the 117th Congress. Click here for the original 115th Congress data. The 117th Congress is the most diverse Congress in history in terms of gender, race, and ethnicity. But how does the diversity of age in Congress stack up? The average age of the 117th Congress is 59 years old. Comparatively, the median age of Americans, according to the most recent census data, is 38 years old. The average age of members of Congress has continued to grow older as current members of Congress are serving longer terms into old age. The 117th Congress is the oldest on average of any Congress in recent history. Compared to the 116th Congress, the age group with the largest increase in members of Congress were in their 80s and 50s, while the age group with the largest decrease in members of Congress was in their 30s. Take a look at this sheet that breaks down the age of every member of Congress along with their party, state, birthday, number of terms they’ve served, and committees they sit on.

Ages of the Senate

The average age of senators is 64 years old. The most common birth years of senators in the 117th Congress are 1952 and 1954, both of which have seven senators. 53 of the 100 senators are 65 or older. Ten of the 28 senators up for reelection in 2022 are 65 and older. At 88 years old, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) is running for reelection. If Grassley wins reelection, another six years in office would put him at 94 and give him his eighth consecutive term in office. Sens. Shelby (R-AL), Leahy (D-VT), and Inhofe (R-OK), all over 80 years old, will retire instead of run for another six years in office.

Who Are the Oldest Senators?

The five oldest senators are all octogenarians. Born between 1933 and 1940, these five senators are part of the Silent Generation — whose early adulthood was shaped by post-WWII 1950s American exceptionalism. The five oldest senators are:
  • Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) — 88 
  • Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) — 88
  • Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) — 87 
  • Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) — 87 
  • Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) — 81

Who Are the Youngest Senators?

The five youngest senators are all children of the 1970s and 1980s and all entered the Senate in a post 9/11 America. Both Sens. Murphy and Cotton have served two Senate terms so far, while the others are all in their first term in the Senate. The five youngest senators are:
  • Sen. Jon Ossoff (D-GA) — 35 
  • Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) — 42
  • Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) — 44 
  • Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) — 45 
  • Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) — 48 

Ages of the House of Representatives

The average age of representatives is slightly younger than the average age of the Senate, at 58 years old. The Senate’s minimum age requirement would only restrict one Representative from running for a Senate seat — 26-year-old Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC-11). The most common birth year in the House of Representatives is 1953 with 17 representatives born that year. Of the 439 representatives, 151 of them are 65 or older. Of the 382 representatives running for reelection in 2022, 128 are 65 or older. The current chamber also has some of the youngest representatives ever elected, like Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC-11) AND Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY-14) and this number is only expected to grow as 2020 saw a 226 percent increase in Millennials running for office.

Who Are the Oldest Representatives?

Much like the Senate, the oldest representatives are all octogenerians. The only one of the oldest representatives not running for reelection in 2022 is Rep. Eddie Johnson, who announced her plans to retire after serving nearly three decades in the House. The five oldest representatives are:
  • Rep. Eddie Johnson (D-TX-30) — 86
  • Rep. Grace Napolitano (D-CA-32) — 85
  • Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ-09) — 85 
  • Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC-01) — 84
  • Rep. Hal Rogers (R-KY-05) — 84

Who Are the Youngest Representatives?

The youngest representatives were born in the late 1980s and 1990s. This is thanks in part to the lower age requirement to be a representative in the House, where the minimum age is 25 years old. The Senate’s minimum age requirement is slightly higher at 30 years old. The youngest representative, Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC-11), was 25 when he was elected to the 117th Congress, barely meeting the minimum age requirement. The youngest House representatives are:
  • Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC-11) — 26
  • Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY-14) — 32 
  • Rep. Sara Jacobs (D-CA-53) — 33
  • Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-NY-15) — 34
  • Rep. Jake LaTurner (R-KS-02) — 34
  • Rep. Kate Commack (R-FL-03) — 34
  • Rep. Jake Auchincloss (D-MA-04) — 34
  • Rep. Peter Meijer (R-MI-03) — 34
  • Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-NY-17) — 34

Which Generations Are Represented Most in Congress?

The largest generation for many years in America has been the Boomers, born between 1946 and 1964. However, the millennial generation, born between 1981 and 1996, recently surpassed the Boomers as the largest generation in America. How does this compare to generational representation in Congress? While Millennials make up nearly 25 percent of the U.S. population, they only account for 4.8 percent of Congress —there are still Millenials who wouldn’t be eligible to serve in the Senate yet. Conversely, Boomers account for only 23.7 percent of the general population, and yet 56.3 percent of all members of Congress belong to the Boomer generation.

Age of Congress by Party

The average age of Democrats in Congress is 61 and of Republicans is 58. When separated by chambers, the averages are fairly similar, with Republican senators on average being older than Democrat senators, while Democrat representatives, on average, are older than Republican representatives.

What a Member of Congress’ Age Means For Your Public Affairs Strategy

Congress is both getting older and adding younger new members, as age seems to polarize as much as party. When meeting with a member of Congress, referencing their age in combination with tenure in office will help give you an understanding of what issues may matter to them based on their background and experience. Understanding these factors can better inform your strategy when interacting with members of Congress to achieve your policy goals. Whether you’re planning to meet with a representative 80 or older, under 40, or anywhere in between, look in their Quorum profile to find insights on the issues they co-sponsor bills on the most, which committees they sit on, and what legislation they’ve sponsored in the past. Issues that matter to senior Americans — like social security, healthcare, or medicare — are probably also priorities to senior members of Congress. With a higher age comes more life experience, so you should also look into their biographies to find their former professions they worked in before assuming office. This can help you gauge their knowledge base on your issues. If you’re advocating for education reform and you see an 80-year-old legislator was a teacher for 40 years, you know you can start the conversation about your issues at a higher level. Use this knowledge base to guide your conversation to give elder members of Congress a better understanding of your issues and priorities.

How Old Was the 116th Congress?

We initially updated this blog, written originally in 2017, reviewing the age of Congress in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted daily life in numerous ways—schools are closed, restaurants and bars are shut down, and millions of Americans are working from home to practice social distancing and avoid transmission of the novel coronavirus. However, Congress is not able to work from home as all voting must be done in person based on current law. This brings up the question, which members of Congress are most at risk of COVID-19? The CDC has recommended those over 65 be the most strict in their social distancing, an age bracket that includes many members of Congress. We took a look at the breakdown:

Who were the oldest members of the 116th Congress?

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Rep. Don Young (R-AK-At Large) are the oldest members of the 116th Congress. Both are 87 years old. There are 50 Senators and 141 Representatives over the age of 65. 14 Governors are over the age of 65. [post_title] => How Old is Congress? [post_excerpt] => Today the average American is 20 years younger than their representative in Congress. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => the-current-congress-is-among-the-oldest-in-history [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2022-04-14 19:16:09 [post_modified_gmt] => 2022-04-14 19:16:09 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://marketing-staging.quorum.us/resources/the-115th-congress-is-among-the-oldest-in-history/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => resources [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [queried_object_id] => 1659 [request] => SELECT wp_posts.* FROM wp_posts WHERE 1=1 AND wp_posts.post_name = 'the-current-congress-is-among-the-oldest-in-history' AND wp_posts.post_type = 'resources' ORDER BY wp_posts.post_date DESC [posts] => Array ( [0] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 1659 [post_author] => 1 [post_date] => 2017-11-09 00:00:00 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-11-09 00:00:00 [post_content] =>

Age of the 117th Congress

This page was originally posted in 2017. We updated the data for the 117th Congress. Click here for the original 115th Congress data. The 117th Congress is the most diverse Congress in history in terms of gender, race, and ethnicity. But how does the diversity of age in Congress stack up? The average age of the 117th Congress is 59 years old. Comparatively, the median age of Americans, according to the most recent census data, is 38 years old. The average age of members of Congress has continued to grow older as current members of Congress are serving longer terms into old age. The 117th Congress is the oldest on average of any Congress in recent history. Compared to the 116th Congress, the age group with the largest increase in members of Congress were in their 80s and 50s, while the age group with the largest decrease in members of Congress was in their 30s. Take a look at this sheet that breaks down the age of every member of Congress along with their party, state, birthday, number of terms they’ve served, and committees they sit on.

Ages of the Senate

The average age of senators is 64 years old. The most common birth years of senators in the 117th Congress are 1952 and 1954, both of which have seven senators. 53 of the 100 senators are 65 or older. Ten of the 28 senators up for reelection in 2022 are 65 and older. At 88 years old, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) is running for reelection. If Grassley wins reelection, another six years in office would put him at 94 and give him his eighth consecutive term in office. Sens. Shelby (R-AL), Leahy (D-VT), and Inhofe (R-OK), all over 80 years old, will retire instead of run for another six years in office.

Who Are the Oldest Senators?

The five oldest senators are all octogenarians. Born between 1933 and 1940, these five senators are part of the Silent Generation — whose early adulthood was shaped by post-WWII 1950s American exceptionalism. The five oldest senators are:
  • Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) — 88 
  • Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) — 88
  • Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) — 87 
  • Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) — 87 
  • Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) — 81

Who Are the Youngest Senators?

The five youngest senators are all children of the 1970s and 1980s and all entered the Senate in a post 9/11 America. Both Sens. Murphy and Cotton have served two Senate terms so far, while the others are all in their first term in the Senate. The five youngest senators are:
  • Sen. Jon Ossoff (D-GA) — 35 
  • Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) — 42
  • Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) — 44 
  • Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) — 45 
  • Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) — 48 

Ages of the House of Representatives

The average age of representatives is slightly younger than the average age of the Senate, at 58 years old. The Senate’s minimum age requirement would only restrict one Representative from running for a Senate seat — 26-year-old Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC-11). The most common birth year in the House of Representatives is 1953 with 17 representatives born that year. Of the 439 representatives, 151 of them are 65 or older. Of the 382 representatives running for reelection in 2022, 128 are 65 or older. The current chamber also has some of the youngest representatives ever elected, like Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC-11) AND Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY-14) and this number is only expected to grow as 2020 saw a 226 percent increase in Millennials running for office.

Who Are the Oldest Representatives?

Much like the Senate, the oldest representatives are all octogenerians. The only one of the oldest representatives not running for reelection in 2022 is Rep. Eddie Johnson, who announced her plans to retire after serving nearly three decades in the House. The five oldest representatives are:
  • Rep. Eddie Johnson (D-TX-30) — 86
  • Rep. Grace Napolitano (D-CA-32) — 85
  • Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ-09) — 85 
  • Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC-01) — 84
  • Rep. Hal Rogers (R-KY-05) — 84

Who Are the Youngest Representatives?

The youngest representatives were born in the late 1980s and 1990s. This is thanks in part to the lower age requirement to be a representative in the House, where the minimum age is 25 years old. The Senate’s minimum age requirement is slightly higher at 30 years old. The youngest representative, Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC-11), was 25 when he was elected to the 117th Congress, barely meeting the minimum age requirement. The youngest House representatives are:
  • Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC-11) — 26
  • Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY-14) — 32 
  • Rep. Sara Jacobs (D-CA-53) — 33
  • Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-NY-15) — 34
  • Rep. Jake LaTurner (R-KS-02) — 34
  • Rep. Kate Commack (R-FL-03) — 34
  • Rep. Jake Auchincloss (D-MA-04) — 34
  • Rep. Peter Meijer (R-MI-03) — 34
  • Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-NY-17) — 34

Which Generations Are Represented Most in Congress?

The largest generation for many years in America has been the Boomers, born between 1946 and 1964. However, the millennial generation, born between 1981 and 1996, recently surpassed the Boomers as the largest generation in America. How does this compare to generational representation in Congress? While Millennials make up nearly 25 percent of the U.S. population, they only account for 4.8 percent of Congress —there are still Millenials who wouldn’t be eligible to serve in the Senate yet. Conversely, Boomers account for only 23.7 percent of the general population, and yet 56.3 percent of all members of Congress belong to the Boomer generation.

Age of Congress by Party

The average age of Democrats in Congress is 61 and of Republicans is 58. When separated by chambers, the averages are fairly similar, with Republican senators on average being older than Democrat senators, while Democrat representatives, on average, are older than Republican representatives.

What a Member of Congress’ Age Means For Your Public Affairs Strategy

Congress is both getting older and adding younger new members, as age seems to polarize as much as party. When meeting with a member of Congress, referencing their age in combination with tenure in office will help give you an understanding of what issues may matter to them based on their background and experience. Understanding these factors can better inform your strategy when interacting with members of Congress to achieve your policy goals. Whether you’re planning to meet with a representative 80 or older, under 40, or anywhere in between, look in their Quorum profile to find insights on the issues they co-sponsor bills on the most, which committees they sit on, and what legislation they’ve sponsored in the past. Issues that matter to senior Americans — like social security, healthcare, or medicare — are probably also priorities to senior members of Congress. With a higher age comes more life experience, so you should also look into their biographies to find their former professions they worked in before assuming office. This can help you gauge their knowledge base on your issues. If you’re advocating for education reform and you see an 80-year-old legislator was a teacher for 40 years, you know you can start the conversation about your issues at a higher level. Use this knowledge base to guide your conversation to give elder members of Congress a better understanding of your issues and priorities.

How Old Was the 116th Congress?

We initially updated this blog, written originally in 2017, reviewing the age of Congress in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted daily life in numerous ways—schools are closed, restaurants and bars are shut down, and millions of Americans are working from home to practice social distancing and avoid transmission of the novel coronavirus. However, Congress is not able to work from home as all voting must be done in person based on current law. This brings up the question, which members of Congress are most at risk of COVID-19? The CDC has recommended those over 65 be the most strict in their social distancing, an age bracket that includes many members of Congress. We took a look at the breakdown:

Who were the oldest members of the 116th Congress?

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Rep. Don Young (R-AK-At Large) are the oldest members of the 116th Congress. Both are 87 years old. There are 50 Senators and 141 Representatives over the age of 65. 14 Governors are over the age of 65. [post_title] => How Old is Congress? [post_excerpt] => Today the average American is 20 years younger than their representative in Congress. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => the-current-congress-is-among-the-oldest-in-history [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2022-04-14 19:16:09 [post_modified_gmt] => 2022-04-14 19:16:09 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://marketing-staging.quorum.us/resources/the-115th-congress-is-among-the-oldest-in-history/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => resources [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) ) [post_count] => 1 [current_post] => -1 [in_the_loop] => [post] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 1659 [post_author] => 1 [post_date] => 2017-11-09 00:00:00 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-11-09 00:00:00 [post_content] =>

Age of the 117th Congress

This page was originally posted in 2017. We updated the data for the 117th Congress. Click here for the original 115th Congress data. The 117th Congress is the most diverse Congress in history in terms of gender, race, and ethnicity. But how does the diversity of age in Congress stack up? The average age of the 117th Congress is 59 years old. Comparatively, the median age of Americans, according to the most recent census data, is 38 years old. The average age of members of Congress has continued to grow older as current members of Congress are serving longer terms into old age. The 117th Congress is the oldest on average of any Congress in recent history. Compared to the 116th Congress, the age group with the largest increase in members of Congress were in their 80s and 50s, while the age group with the largest decrease in members of Congress was in their 30s. Take a look at this sheet that breaks down the age of every member of Congress along with their party, state, birthday, number of terms they’ve served, and committees they sit on.

Ages of the Senate

The average age of senators is 64 years old. The most common birth years of senators in the 117th Congress are 1952 and 1954, both of which have seven senators. 53 of the 100 senators are 65 or older. Ten of the 28 senators up for reelection in 2022 are 65 and older. At 88 years old, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) is running for reelection. If Grassley wins reelection, another six years in office would put him at 94 and give him his eighth consecutive term in office. Sens. Shelby (R-AL), Leahy (D-VT), and Inhofe (R-OK), all over 80 years old, will retire instead of run for another six years in office.

Who Are the Oldest Senators?

The five oldest senators are all octogenarians. Born between 1933 and 1940, these five senators are part of the Silent Generation — whose early adulthood was shaped by post-WWII 1950s American exceptionalism. The five oldest senators are:
  • Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) — 88 
  • Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) — 88
  • Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) — 87 
  • Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) — 87 
  • Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) — 81

Who Are the Youngest Senators?

The five youngest senators are all children of the 1970s and 1980s and all entered the Senate in a post 9/11 America. Both Sens. Murphy and Cotton have served two Senate terms so far, while the others are all in their first term in the Senate. The five youngest senators are:
  • Sen. Jon Ossoff (D-GA) — 35 
  • Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) — 42
  • Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) — 44 
  • Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) — 45 
  • Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) — 48 

Ages of the House of Representatives

The average age of representatives is slightly younger than the average age of the Senate, at 58 years old. The Senate’s minimum age requirement would only restrict one Representative from running for a Senate seat — 26-year-old Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC-11). The most common birth year in the House of Representatives is 1953 with 17 representatives born that year. Of the 439 representatives, 151 of them are 65 or older. Of the 382 representatives running for reelection in 2022, 128 are 65 or older. The current chamber also has some of the youngest representatives ever elected, like Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC-11) AND Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY-14) and this number is only expected to grow as 2020 saw a 226 percent increase in Millennials running for office.

Who Are the Oldest Representatives?

Much like the Senate, the oldest representatives are all octogenerians. The only one of the oldest representatives not running for reelection in 2022 is Rep. Eddie Johnson, who announced her plans to retire after serving nearly three decades in the House. The five oldest representatives are:
  • Rep. Eddie Johnson (D-TX-30) — 86
  • Rep. Grace Napolitano (D-CA-32) — 85
  • Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ-09) — 85 
  • Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC-01) — 84
  • Rep. Hal Rogers (R-KY-05) — 84

Who Are the Youngest Representatives?

The youngest representatives were born in the late 1980s and 1990s. This is thanks in part to the lower age requirement to be a representative in the House, where the minimum age is 25 years old. The Senate’s minimum age requirement is slightly higher at 30 years old. The youngest representative, Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC-11), was 25 when he was elected to the 117th Congress, barely meeting the minimum age requirement. The youngest House representatives are:
  • Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC-11) — 26
  • Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY-14) — 32 
  • Rep. Sara Jacobs (D-CA-53) — 33
  • Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-NY-15) — 34
  • Rep. Jake LaTurner (R-KS-02) — 34
  • Rep. Kate Commack (R-FL-03) — 34
  • Rep. Jake Auchincloss (D-MA-04) — 34
  • Rep. Peter Meijer (R-MI-03) — 34
  • Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-NY-17) — 34

Which Generations Are Represented Most in Congress?

The largest generation for many years in America has been the Boomers, born between 1946 and 1964. However, the millennial generation, born between 1981 and 1996, recently surpassed the Boomers as the largest generation in America. How does this compare to generational representation in Congress? While Millennials make up nearly 25 percent of the U.S. population, they only account for 4.8 percent of Congress —there are still Millenials who wouldn’t be eligible to serve in the Senate yet. Conversely, Boomers account for only 23.7 percent of the general population, and yet 56.3 percent of all members of Congress belong to the Boomer generation.

Age of Congress by Party

The average age of Democrats in Congress is 61 and of Republicans is 58. When separated by chambers, the averages are fairly similar, with Republican senators on average being older than Democrat senators, while Democrat representatives, on average, are older than Republican representatives.

What a Member of Congress’ Age Means For Your Public Affairs Strategy

Congress is both getting older and adding younger new members, as age seems to polarize as much as party. When meeting with a member of Congress, referencing their age in combination with tenure in office will help give you an understanding of what issues may matter to them based on their background and experience. Understanding these factors can better inform your strategy when interacting with members of Congress to achieve your policy goals. Whether you’re planning to meet with a representative 80 or older, under 40, or anywhere in between, look in their Quorum profile to find insights on the issues they co-sponsor bills on the most, which committees they sit on, and what legislation they’ve sponsored in the past. Issues that matter to senior Americans — like social security, healthcare, or medicare — are probably also priorities to senior members of Congress. With a higher age comes more life experience, so you should also look into their biographies to find their former professions they worked in before assuming office. This can help you gauge their knowledge base on your issues. If you’re advocating for education reform and you see an 80-year-old legislator was a teacher for 40 years, you know you can start the conversation about your issues at a higher level. Use this knowledge base to guide your conversation to give elder members of Congress a better understanding of your issues and priorities.

How Old Was the 116th Congress?

We initially updated this blog, written originally in 2017, reviewing the age of Congress in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted daily life in numerous ways—schools are closed, restaurants and bars are shut down, and millions of Americans are working from home to practice social distancing and avoid transmission of the novel coronavirus. However, Congress is not able to work from home as all voting must be done in person based on current law. This brings up the question, which members of Congress are most at risk of COVID-19? The CDC has recommended those over 65 be the most strict in their social distancing, an age bracket that includes many members of Congress. We took a look at the breakdown:

Who were the oldest members of the 116th Congress?

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Rep. Don Young (R-AK-At Large) are the oldest members of the 116th Congress. Both are 87 years old. There are 50 Senators and 141 Representatives over the age of 65. 14 Governors are over the age of 65. [post_title] => How Old is Congress? [post_excerpt] => Today the average American is 20 years younger than their representative in Congress. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => the-current-congress-is-among-the-oldest-in-history [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2022-04-14 19:16:09 [post_modified_gmt] => 2022-04-14 19:16:09 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://marketing-staging.quorum.us/resources/the-115th-congress-is-among-the-oldest-in-history/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => resources [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [comment_count] => 0 [current_comment] => -1 [found_posts] => 1 [max_num_pages] => 0 [max_num_comment_pages] => 0 [is_single] => 1 [is_preview] => [is_page] => [is_archive] => [is_date] => [is_year] => [is_month] => [is_day] => [is_time] => [is_author] => [is_category] => [is_tag] => [is_tax] => [is_search] => [is_feed] => [is_comment_feed] => [is_trackback] => [is_home] => [is_privacy_policy] => [is_404] => [is_embed] => [is_paged] => [is_admin] => [is_attachment] => [is_singular] => 1 [is_robots] => [is_favicon] => [is_posts_page] => [is_post_type_archive] => [query_vars_hash:WP_Query:private] => 7d8b4eb8e294a7bf2d484968c160e722 [query_vars_changed:WP_Query:private] => [thumbnails_cached] => [stopwords:WP_Query:private] => [compat_fields:WP_Query:private] => Array ( [0] => query_vars_hash [1] => query_vars_changed ) [compat_methods:WP_Query:private] => Array ( [0] => init_query_flags [1] => parse_tax_query ) )
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Data Driven Insights

How Old is Congress?

How Old is Congress?

Age of the 117th Congress

This page was originally posted in 2017. We updated the data for the 117th Congress. Click here for the original 115th Congress data.

The 117th Congress is the most diverse Congress in history in terms of gender, race, and ethnicity. But how does the diversity of age in Congress stack up? The average age of the 117th Congress is 59 years old. Comparatively, the median age of Americans, according to the most recent census data, is 38 years old.

The average age of members of Congress has continued to grow older as current members of Congress are serving longer terms into old age. The 117th Congress is the oldest on average of any Congress in recent history. Compared to the 116th Congress, the age group with the largest increase in members of Congress were in their 80s and 50s, while the age group with the largest decrease in members of Congress was in their 30s.

Take a look at this sheet that breaks down the age of every member of Congress along with their party, state, birthday, number of terms they’ve served, and committees they sit on.

Ages of the Senate

The average age of senators is 64 years old. The most common birth years of senators in the 117th Congress are 1952 and 1954, both of which have seven senators. 53 of the 100 senators are 65 or older.

Ten of the 28 senators up for reelection in 2022 are 65 and older. At 88 years old, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) is running for reelection. If Grassley wins reelection, another six years in office would put him at 94 and give him his eighth consecutive term in office. Sens. Shelby (R-AL), Leahy (D-VT), and Inhofe (R-OK), all over 80 years old, will retire instead of run for another six years in office.

Who Are the Oldest Senators?

The five oldest senators are all octogenarians. Born between 1933 and 1940, these five senators are part of the Silent Generation — whose early adulthood was shaped by post-WWII 1950s American exceptionalism. The five oldest senators are:

  • Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) — 88 
  • Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) — 88
  • Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) — 87 
  • Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) — 87 
  • Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) — 81

Who Are the Youngest Senators?

The five youngest senators are all children of the 1970s and 1980s and all entered the Senate in a post 9/11 America. Both Sens. Murphy and Cotton have served two Senate terms so far, while the others are all in their first term in the Senate. The five youngest senators are:

  • Sen. Jon Ossoff (D-GA) — 35 
  • Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) — 42
  • Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) — 44 
  • Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) — 45 
  • Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) — 48 

Ages of the House of Representatives

The average age of representatives is slightly younger than the average age of the Senate, at 58 years old. The Senate’s minimum age requirement would only restrict one Representative from running for a Senate seat — 26-year-old Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC-11). The most common birth year in the House of Representatives is 1953 with 17 representatives born that year. Of the 439 representatives, 151 of them are 65 or older.

Of the 382 representatives running for reelection in 2022, 128 are 65 or older. The current chamber also has some of the youngest representatives ever elected, like Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC-11) AND Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY-14) and this number is only expected to grow as 2020 saw a 226 percent increase in Millennials running for office.

Who Are the Oldest Representatives?

Much like the Senate, the oldest representatives are all octogenerians. The only one of the oldest representatives not running for reelection in 2022 is Rep. Eddie Johnson, who announced her plans to retire after serving nearly three decades in the House. The five oldest representatives are:

  • Rep. Eddie Johnson (D-TX-30) — 86
  • Rep. Grace Napolitano (D-CA-32) — 85
  • Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ-09) — 85 
  • Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC-01) — 84
  • Rep. Hal Rogers (R-KY-05) — 84

Who Are the Youngest Representatives?

The youngest representatives were born in the late 1980s and 1990s. This is thanks in part to the lower age requirement to be a representative in the House, where the minimum age is 25 years old. The Senate’s minimum age requirement is slightly higher at 30 years old. The youngest representative, Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC-11), was 25 when he was elected to the 117th Congress, barely meeting the minimum age requirement.

The youngest House representatives are:

  • Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC-11) — 26
  • Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY-14) — 32 
  • Rep. Sara Jacobs (D-CA-53) — 33
  • Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-NY-15) — 34
  • Rep. Jake LaTurner (R-KS-02) — 34
  • Rep. Kate Commack (R-FL-03) — 34
  • Rep. Jake Auchincloss (D-MA-04) — 34
  • Rep. Peter Meijer (R-MI-03) — 34
  • Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-NY-17) — 34

Which Generations Are Represented Most in Congress?

The largest generation for many years in America has been the Boomers, born between 1946 and 1964. However, the millennial generation, born between 1981 and 1996, recently surpassed the Boomers as the largest generation in America. How does this compare to generational representation in Congress?

While Millennials make up nearly 25 percent of the U.S. population, they only account for 4.8 percent of Congress —there are still Millenials who wouldn’t be eligible to serve in the Senate yet. Conversely, Boomers account for only 23.7 percent of the general population, and yet 56.3 percent of all members of Congress belong to the Boomer generation.

Age of Congress by Party

The average age of Democrats in Congress is 61 and of Republicans is 58. When separated by chambers, the averages are fairly similar, with Republican senators on average being older than Democrat senators, while Democrat representatives, on average, are older than Republican representatives.

What a Member of Congress’ Age Means For Your Public Affairs Strategy

Congress is both getting older and adding younger new members, as age seems to polarize as much as party. When meeting with a member of Congress, referencing their age in combination with tenure in office will help give you an understanding of what issues may matter to them based on their background and experience. Understanding these factors can better inform your strategy when interacting with members of Congress to achieve your policy goals.

Whether you’re planning to meet with a representative 80 or older, under 40, or anywhere in between, look in their Quorum profile to find insights on the issues they co-sponsor bills on the most, which committees they sit on, and what legislation they’ve sponsored in the past. Issues that matter to senior Americans — like social security, healthcare, or medicare — are probably also priorities to senior members of Congress. With a higher age comes more life experience, so you should also look into their biographies to find their former professions they worked in before assuming office. This can help you gauge their knowledge base on your issues. If you’re advocating for education reform and you see an 80-year-old legislator was a teacher for 40 years, you know you can start the conversation about your issues at a higher level.

Use this knowledge base to guide your conversation to give elder members of Congress a better understanding of your issues and priorities.

How Old Was the 116th Congress?

We initially updated this blog, written originally in 2017, reviewing the age of Congress in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted daily life in numerous ways—schools are closed, restaurants and bars are shut down, and millions of Americans are working from home to practice social distancing and avoid transmission of the novel coronavirus. However, Congress is not able to work from home as all voting must be done in person based on current law. This brings up the question, which members of Congress are most at risk of COVID-19? The CDC has recommended those over 65 be the most strict in their social distancing, an age bracket that includes many members of Congress. We took a look at the breakdown:

Who were the oldest members of the 116th Congress?

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Rep. Don Young (R-AK-At Large) are the oldest members of the 116th Congress. Both are 87 years old. There are 50 Senators and 141 Representatives over the age of 65. 14 Governors are over the age of 65.

How Old Was the 115th Congress?

Original Post from 2017

Today the average American is 20 years younger than their representative in Congress. This should come as no surprise, considering that over the past 30 years the average age of a Member of Congress has increased with almost every new Congress. In 1981, the average age of a Representative was 49 and the average of a Senator was 53. Today, the average age of a Representative is 57 and the average of a Senator is 61. This prompted us to take a further look at those graying averages.

Go beyond the age of Congress: learn how bipartisanship has decreased by 30% since 1989.

Democratic leaders in the House are two decades older than Republican leaders.

The average age of the Democratic House leadership is 72 years old, whereas the average age of Republican House leadership is 48 years old. This trend continues in House committee leadership with Republican chairmen averaging 59 years old and ranking Democrats averaging 68 years old.

1/3 of Representatives over 60 represent districts with a median age of 35 or less.

There are 44 congressional districts in which the age of the Representative is more than double the median age of their constituents. Of these 44 Representatives, 38 won their last election by more than 60% of the vote. The following Representatives are particular outliers of this analysis.

More than half of the Senators up for reelection in 2018 will be over the age of 65.

18 of the 33 Senators running for reelection in 2018 will be 65 or older. If they win, another six years in office would put Senators Feinstein, Hatch, Nelson, and Sanders well into their 80s. Looking ahead at the 2020 elections, 21 of the 33 Senators running for reelection will be 65 or older. The current chamber is already one of the oldest Senates by some measures according to the Washington Post, and the data suggests this trend would continue in the coming years.

President Trump’s call for term limits.

On the campaign trail President Trump vowed to “propose a constitutional amendment to impose term limits on all members of Congress” as part of his “Contract with the American Voter.” Congressional term limits are far from a new idea and are often considered a possible solution to the aging of Congress. However, past proposals have all failed to garner the two-thirds majority in both chambers required for a constitutional amendment. While the White House is sure to face opposition from Congress on such a proposal, if there’s anything this past week has taught us — President Trump plans on following through. See a breakdown by chamber of what would happen if term limits were implemented.

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