Chart of the Day: How Geriatric Is the US Senate?

Over at Vox, Harold Pollack writes about a problem: “very old politicians.” I was nodding along until I got to this sentence about the Senate:

In the body as a whole, 23 senators are at least 70. Seven are 80 or older.

This doesn’t seem all that old. So I got curious: how does the age distribution of the Senate compare to the country as a whole? Obviously there are no youngsters in the Senate, so we need to compare to a subset of the population. It’s very seldom that anyone becomes a senator before age 40, so here’s a comparison of the US Senate to the overall US population 40 and over:

It turns out the Senate looks a lot like America. The main difference is too few senators in their 40s and too many in their 60s. But the 70+ crowd is roughly the same as their distribution in the population.

Now, in the rest of the world, most of those folks who are over 70 are retired, and maybe a lot of these senators should be too. Still, they don’t look an awful lot different than a random group of over-40s plucked off a street corner.

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In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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