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Degrees of Red and Blue

It's a popular belief that most members of the U.S. Congress - charged with passing the laws of this land - hold law degrees. In reality, their educational backgrounds are a lot more varied. Use our interactive chart below to discover the educational backgrounds of today's sitting Senate and House.

Will the 114th Congress Please Be Seated?

Compare the levels of education completed by the U.S. legislators and their fields of study. Filter by the Congress chamber and gender.

0% Bachelors 0 Democrats 0 Republicans

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According to 2014 data, 32% of Americans hold a bachelor's degree, but for Congress, 96% hold a bachelor's degree.

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Though 51% of Americans are women, both chambers of Congress are comprised of only 20% female representatives, with 362 men to 76 women in the House and 83 men to 17 women in the Senate.

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One in five (21%) Republican congresspeople have studied Business at one point or another in their academic career – which is twice as many as Democrats, of whom only 11% have a degree in Business.

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Harvard University School of Law is ranked among the top law schools in the US, and is also the most popular law school for Congress.

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For half of House of Representatives members, home really is where the heart is. 50% represent the state they went to college in.

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As you might expect, the largest majority of congresspeople hold Political Science Bachelor’s degrees. However, Journalism and Accounting are also in the top ten most popular degrees.

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Arts and Humanities is the third most popular field of study among US senators and representatives, as 22% of them have at least one degree in this field.

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Not every congressperson starts out their career in the law. In fact, 5% of the members of Congress hold degrees in medical related studies.

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Going once, going twice, this resolution is passed! Representative Billy Long, Missouri’s 7th district, is a certified auctioneer.

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While most Senators and Representatives hold Liberal Arts degrees of some kind, STEM degrees have some representation in Congress, too. In fact, 3 members of the Senate studied Chemistry for their Bachelor’s degree.

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Degrees in the Liberal Arts dominate in both the House and Senate where the most common Bachelor’s degrees are Political Science, History, and Business for both Democrats and Republicans.

50 States of Education

Use the map below to zero in on specific members of Congress based on the degrees they hold, the state and district they represent, and their party affiliation. Rollover each for more detailed information.

ABOUT THIS VISUALIZATION

This interactive infographic is based on the educational background of the current 535 members of the United States Congress. Using Mechanical Turk, we collected the data on the education of each member (including the location of each university a congressperson attended) from the United States Senate and House of Representatives websites. Any information that was not available online was obtained by contacting the District of Columbia office of a given congressperson.