113th Congress Is No Stranger to Wealth

Being the lowest person on the totem pole is often seen as a disadvantage. However, this is not necessarily the case when looking at the freshmen class of lawmakers entering Congress.

elections republicans democratsAfter a grueling election season, the country had ninety-four new senators and House members join the 113th Congress. To little surprise, voters looking for lawmakers who are in touch with the average American, at least on financial issues, will likely be disappointed. According to a new analysis by the Center for Responsive Politics, the median estimated net worth of the incoming Washington class is a little more than $1 million, higher than the rest of Congress. The findings are based from personal financial disclosure forms filed by all members of Congress and candidates who won at the ballot boxes in November.

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In comparison, the U.S. Census shows that the median net worth of the typical American household is $66,740, an amount that decreased 35 percent from 2005 to 2010. While Congress represents an older crowd, the Census also notes that householders 65 and older only have a median net worth of about $170,000.

The bigger picture…

080325_ZimbabweMoney_hsmall-vertical“While America continues to claw its way back to economic stability, voters have nevertheless chosen to elect new members of Congress who have already made it big,” said Sheila Krumholz, executive director of the Center. “Apparently, on the whole, we don’t want people who look like us, financially speaking. What’s harder to measure is whether these new legislators appreciate the financial pain people face and can effectively represent them despite the fact that they themselves are well off.”

Overall, the 535 members of Congress have a median estimated net worth of about $966,001, according to CRP. Nearly half of lawmakers have an estimated net worth of more than $1 million, up slightly from the previous year.

Congress members are allowed to list their annual personal financial reports in broad ranges, so CRP created a minimum and maximum net worth and then an average net worth for each lawmaker. If the average net worth of every member of Congress is totaled, CRP estimates a combined net worth of roughly $4.5 billion.

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