By Ethan Marshall
The data visualization of the members of Congress throughout the United States in January of 2015 is effective at communicating information. The names of the representatives, their party affiliation and pictures of them are all provided.
The graphs under the map of the US break down the percentage of specific genders, sexual orientation, race and ethnicity, age and education throughout the country and Congress. The graphs further break down the categories by showing the percentage of Democrats and Republicans who fall into this category.
For example, while 50.8% of the US population is female, they make up just 19.5% of Congress. However, 32.5% of Congressional Democrats are women while 9.3% of Congressional Republicans are women. Through this, we see that a majority of the women in Congress come from the Democratic party. While they only make up about one-fifth of all of Congress, women account for almost one-third of all Democratic representatives.
The way in which the graphs break down the members of Congress by these categories helps to prevent misleading information. Rather than just saying 13.7% of Congressional representatives are younger than 45, the percentage of the US population that falls under this category is provided, as well as how much these representatives make up of their party.
The graphs show that in most cases, people that can be put under certain categories aren’t represented as much in Congress as the population they make up. This is particularly evident for people without college education. While they make up 42.4% of the country’s population, only 0.4% of the members of Congress don’t have a college degree. The graph shows that American voters prefer their representatives to have a higher degree.
The graphs show diversity is a big issue for Republican representatives. All the Republicans identify as heterosexual. 95% of the Republicans are white, and 90.7% of Republicans are male.
The article does show that many people may be represented in Congress more than they may have thought. While African Americans make up 12.6% of the country’s population, and 8.6% of the members of Congress are African American, 18.4% of the Democratic representatives are African American. The US Congress is diverse on the Democratic side, but not for the Republicans. The lack of diversity for Republicans in Congress brings down the total percentage of different minority groups being represented.