The U.S. Senate has never been a snapshot of America; its membership is top-heavy with white men. Now, a new study shows that it’s not just the senators who are predominately of that demographic; their top staffers are as well.
The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies took a look at the Senate’s top staffers. The resulting study (pdf) showed that that group is overwhelmingly white. Only 7% of Senate senior staff aides are people of color, compared to about a third of Americans overall.
That ratio shouldn’t be surprising, considering the makeup of the Senate itself. There are only two African-American and three Hispanic senators there, Russell Berman reported at Government Executive.
Even staffs of senators representing states with large minority populations have very small numbers of staff members of color. Among the senators from states in which Latinos comprise 15% to 45% of the population, only 8.5% of the staffers are people of color, according to the report. And of the 10 southern and border states in which African-Americans comprise 17% to 38% of the population, their senators have exactly one African-American top staffer.
Even Democratic senators appear reluctant to hire staffers of color. Only 2% of their top staffers are Latino and only 0.7% are black. “There is no African-American chief of staff, legislative director, or communications director in the Washington, D.C. personal office of any Democratic senator,” according to the report.
The report made several recommendations, the most interesting of which was that the Senate…