Net Worths of Members of Congress

how wealthy are our representatives?

It likely wouldn’t surprise anyone, much less a congressional scholar, to learn that most members of Congress are wealthier than the average American. What might be more surprising is just how much wealthier they are. According to estimates calculated by the Center for Responsive Politics, the average net worth of a member of the U.S. House of Representatives is right around $8 million. That’s about 116 times as much as the net worth of the average American, which according to the Census Bureau’s most recent estimates is around $69,000. Even the median net worth of the top 20% of Americans - about $630,000 - doesn’t even come close to that of most members of Congress.

To help visualize this for individual members of Congress, we’ve put together an interactive graphic that displays data for all members of the House of Representatives for whom data is available, including their state, district, party, and estimated net worth. You can sort and view this graphic by party, by range of wealth, or by state, and even zoom in and out.

Below is a summary graphic showing wealth ranges and the number of members that fall into each range. Nearly half of the members of the House are millionaires, and nearly two-thirds are worth more than a half a million dollars.

These net worth figures for members of Congress, given how out-of-sync they are with the wealth of their constituents, should give us pause and lead us to ask some important questions. Why are members of Congress so much wealthier than average Americans? Do voters care about this disparity, and should they? What work experience created this kind of wealth for them, and what kinds of policy implications could this have? Further analysis of our interactive graphic is likely to spur even more questions.

 

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