In other words, don't give the 113th too much credit for being diverse.
I wanted to get a better picture of exactly which parts of the U.S. are contributing to diversity in the House, and for that, we needed a map. Rob McCausland, a developer for Community Media Database, generously provided his mapping data for the 113th Congressional Districts, which he sourced individually for each state. (His original map and Google Fusion Table are here.) I then combined McCausland's data with the race and gender data compiled by the House Press Gallery.
The map below charts the voting members of the House (plus the non-voting delegate from D.C.) who identify with these four minorities: Hispanic (yellow), African-American (red), American Indian (green), and Asian-American (purple). (A few notes: New Mexico Congressman Ben Luján identifies as both Hispanic and American Indian, but we've counted him on this map as Hispanic. Also, the congressional district shapefile for Rhode Island was not available at press time, but both representatives from that state are male and do not identify with any of these minority groups. When I refer to minorities, I mean only members or non-members of these four groups as identified by the House Press Gallery.)
The vast majority of the map is gray, indicating districts that are represented by a member who does not identify with one of these four minority groups. The geographic differences are clear. A large swath in the middle of the county has no minority representation. Conversely, all but three districts lining the Mexico-U.S. border are represented by Hispanics. Texas has several districts with African-American representatives, shown by two red clusters near Dallas and Houston.
Take a moment and zoom into some of the country's largest metro areas, such as New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago.
Below are close-ups of some of the largest U.S. metro areas.
Left: New York City; Right: Los Angeles
Left: Chicago; Right: Miami - Fort Lauderdale
The office of Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi took a little bit of heat last week for doctoring a photo highlighting Democratic congresswomen to include women missing from the initial photo. Pelosi said in a press conference Friday that the photo "was an accurate reflection of who the 61 Members, Democratic women Members of Congress are. And not only were they women, but they reflected the beautiful diversity of our country; women from every community as well as every religious faith."
This is true, to an extent. Across the entire House, there are 61 Democratic and 20 Republican congresswomen, and 30 women members are also one of these four minorities. The Democratic party has more congresswomen who identify with one of these four minorities than their Republican counterparts (28 versus two). And among the Democratic congresswomen, 46 percent identify as one of these minorities. The map below shows women in the 113th Congress within the continental U.S. with the exception of Rhode Island, as above, so non-voting members Madeleine Bordallo (GU), Kristi Noem (SD), and Donna Christensen (VI) are not included. The remaining 78 members are shown.
It's helpful to consider these numbers with the nation as a whole. As the name implies, the House of Representatives is intended to represent their constituents. In a country that is 50.8 percent women, the House of Representatives is 18.5 percent women.