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How Many Jews Are in Congress?

How Many Jews Are in Congress?

View of the US Capitol building from behind a faraway statue

In "Faith on the Hill," the Pew Research Center shares analysis of the religious composition of politicians in the 115th Congress. It's big news for Jews: The 115th Congress's freshman class boasts the largest percentage of Jewish members in recorded history, at 8%; in the 114th Congress, just 1% of freshmen members were Jews.

Though Jews make up just 2% of the U.S. population, they account for 6% of Congress. Protestants and Catholics, too, are overrepresented in Congress, proportional to their makeup in the population, but other groups – including Buddhists, Mormons, Muslims, and Orthodox Christians – are represented proportionally.

The group most notably underrepresented in Congress is the religiously unaffiliated. Sometimes known as "the nones," these individuals make up 23% of the general public but just 0.2% of Congress. Though 10 members of Congress decline to state their religious affiliation, just one member of Congress, Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), identifies as religiously unaffiliated.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, a whopping 91% of new members of Congress identify as Christian, and of the 293 Republicans elected to the 115th Congress, all but two identify as Christians. The other two are Jewish Republicans – Congressman Lee Zeldin of New York and Congressman David Kustoff of Tennessee. Overall, Democrats, too, identify as overwhelmingly Christian, with over 80% of them  - 80% of them - but of the 242 Democrats in Congress, 28 are Jewish; there are no Jewish Republicans in Congress.

Jews make up a higher proportion of the Senate than the House (8% versus 5%).

Kate Bigam is the social media and community manager for the Union for Reform Judaism, serving as a content manager and editor for ReformJudaism.org. She is a proud alumna of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism’s Eisendrath Legislative Assistant fellowship and also served as the RAC's press secretary. A native Ohioan, Kate grew up at Temple Beth Shalom in Hudson, OH, and holds a degree in magazine journalism from Kent State University. She and her fiancé live in Cleveland.

Kate Bigam
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