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The Jews of the 114th Congress

Pew study finds Jewish members represent 5.2 percent of the incoming class

Stephanie Butnick
January 06, 2015

The 114th U.S. Congress commences today, and the Pew Forum has published an in-depth survey of the religious makeup of the Senate and House of Representatives. It’s an interesting look at religion demographics across the country, and the ways in which elected officials do and don’t reflect their constituents. “Indeed, a regional comparison of members of Congress with the general public shows that, when it comes to religious affiliation, representatives often share their faith with many of their constituents,” the accompanying report states.

Yet the report also makes clear that in many some areas of the country, that correlation isn’t as clear: “For example, the West, like the Northeast, has a relatively high percentage of Jewish members of Congress (7%). However, the percentage of Jews among the West’s general population (1%) is similar to that of the South and Midwest, which have smaller Jewish contingents in Congress.”

According to the Pew data, Congress is 92 percent Christian (nine in 10 members); with 57 percent of members identifying as Protestant and 31 identifying as Catholic. Jews represent 5.3 percent of the Congressional body with 28 members (five fewer than in the 113th and 11 fewer than in the 112th). There are 19 Jews in the House of Representatives (4.4 percent), and nine in the Senate (nine percent).

You can read the full report here.

Stephanie Butnick is chief strategy officer of Tablet Magazine, co-founder of Tablet Studios, and a host of the Unorthodox podcast.