The incoming Congress may be the nation's most diverse ever, according to a Pew Research Center report that details the represented in the graphic at right. Among the freshmen are the first Hindu member of the House and the Senate's first Buddhist.
Protestants (56 percent of the 530 seats) and Catholics (30 percent) still dominate the legislative chambers.
Below is a breakdown of the religions declared by the 22 freshmen members of Congress who are minorities:
1 Seventh Day Adventist
If all Protestants are grouped to include unspecified Christians, the percentage breakdown of the two largest denominations would be 50 percent Protestants and 36 percent Catholic, closely reflecting the larger body.
Here is the breakdown of all 84 minority members of Congress, newcomers and incumbents alike, as they self-identify:
3 African Methodist Episcopal
2 Seventh Day Adventist
1 none indicated
If all Protestants are grouped to include unspecified Christians, the percentage breakdown of the two largest denominations would be 56 percent Protestants — equaling the larger body — and at 33 percent Catholic, exceeding the total in Congress by 3 percentage points.
The three Buddhists, two Muslims and one Hindi are all people of color.
A Congressional Research Service profile of the 112th Congress indicated that the lawmakers categorized themselves as followers of one of nine faiths (Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Greek Orthodox, Quaker, Unitarian Universalist, Mormon, Buddhism, and Islam).
This article is part of our Next America: Communities project, which is supported by a grant from Emerson Collective.
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