The United States Senate 2016

Generational Breakdown of the United States Senate

  • Millennial Generation: 1981-1998*
  • Generation X: 1965-1980
  • Baby Boom Generation: 1946-1964
  • Silent Generation: 1928-1945

* When appropriate, we include those who were born after 1998 within the “Millennial Generation” percentages (referred to as “Post-Millennial” by Pew Research Center).

YELP follows the generational distinctions used by The Pew Research Center.

The Millennial Generation has overtaken the Baby Boom Generation as the largest generation.

How does the generational breakdown of the U.S. Senate compare to that of the general population?

Source: Pew Research Center,


Generation Number of Senators
Millennial Generation 0
Generation-X 16
Baby Boom Generation 65
Silent Generation 19
  • The average age of the Senate is 60 years old
  • The youngest member is 40 years old (Tom Cotton, R-AK)
  • The oldest member is 84 years old (Dianne Feinstein, D-CA)
  • There are no Young Elected Leaders in the Senate

The Baby Boom Generation generation holds a disproportionate majority in the Senate and accounts for more than three-fifths of the entire chamber.  Millennials, despite being the largest generation in terms of population, are the least represented with no current members of the Senate.

Partisanship of the U.S. Senate

The United States is a two-party system with the Democrats and Republicans as the two dominant parties. Currently, a plurality of the United States identifies as Democrat while Republicans and Independents comprise the remaining amount.

How does the partisanship breakdown of the U.S. House of Representatives compare with that of the general population?

Partisanship by Generation of the US Population
Source: Source: Pew Research Center,

Party Number of Senators
Democrat 46
Republican 52
Independent/Other 2

*Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar (both MN) are identified as Democratic Farmer Labor Party

  • Mary Heitkamp (ND) is identified as Democratic Nonpartisan League
Partisanship by Generation of the U.S. Senate

Party Identification of the U.S. Senate by Generation
Generation Number of Democrats Number of Republicans Number of Independents
Millennial Generation 0 0 0
Generation-X 6 10 0
Baby Boom Generation 35 30 0
Silent Generation 5 12 2

As the Republican Party holds the majority of seats in the Senate, the partisanship of the chamber is not representative of the population as a whole, which leans Democratic. Those who identify as Independent are especially underrepresented in the Senate, as Independents only hold two seats. The partisanship of the population as a whole is not reflected in the membership of the Senate.

Gender of the U.S. Senate

Overall, there is a negligible difference between the number of men and women within the United States. Similarly, the breakdown of gender generationally (with the exception of the WWII Generation, which has a slightly larger gap) is almost a 50/50 split.

How much does the U.S. Senate reflect a gender balance?

Gender by Generation of the US Population
Source: 2010 US Census

Gender Number of Senators
Men 79
Women 21

Gender by Generation of the U.S. Senate


Generation Number of Men Number of Women
Millennial Generation 0 0
Generation-X 13 3
Baby Boom Generation 48 17
Silent Generation 18 1

The U.S. Senate does not represent the nearly 50/50 population split between men and women in America.  The gender balance in the Senate is heavily skewed with men holding a strong majority of the 100 seats.  Women only account for 21% of the seats in the U.S. Senate.

Ethnicity of the U.S. Senate

The U.S. population features many different ethnicities and the Millennial Generation, in particular, is the most ethnically diverse generation.

How much does the U.S. Senate reflect the ethnic* diversity of the United States?

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2010

*The US Census considers race and ethnicity as separate and distinct concepts. Therefore, this graph depicts only the racial composition of the US population. Ethnicity reflects if a person is of Hispanic origin or not.

Ethnicity by Generation of the US Population
Source: Pew Research Center,

Ethnicity Number of Members
Asian/Pacific American 3
Black/African American 2
Native American 0
Hispanic/Latino 4
Hawaiian/Pacific Islander 0
Other 0
Two or More Races 0
White/Caucasian 91


Ethnicity by Generation of the U.S. Senate


Ethnicity Millennial Generation Generation-X Baby Boom Silent Generation
Black/African American 0 2 0 0
White/Caucasian 0 11 61 19
Hispanic/Latino 0 2 2 0
Asian/Pacific Islander 0 1 2 0

While both Whites/Caucasians are a majority ethnicity both within the U.S. population and the U.S. Senate, the other ethnic groups are disproportionately represented. The ethnic breakdown of the U.S. Senate does not reflect the ethnic diversity of the population as a whole.

See the Young Elected Leaders in the 116th United States Senate