Which Generation Controls the Senate?
About This Chart
Vacancies in the Senate are not uncommon, for instance when a Senator dies or resigns. The tiles on this chart use the Senator that was holding the seat at the beginning of the term, even if they didn’t hold the seat for the majority of the term. This is why Kelly Loeffler and Kamala Harris have tiles in the 117th congress.
The senator's age in a particular year is calculated for January 3rd of that year.
While playing around with this, one interesting trend I noticed is how the average age of a Senator has increased over the last seventy years. If you hover over a tile and then slide to the right, you can see how senators at the same percentile of age are now older than they used to be. For instance, a middle-of-the-pack Senator in 1947 was maybe 55 or 56-ish years old. Now, the middle seems to be 65 or 66, a whole decade older! Of course, it would be trivial to calculate and plot mean/median ages for each congress, but, c’mon, isn’t it more fun to explore the data this way?
An Alternate View
This table shows percent control of the Senate, by generation by year:
3/3/2023 - Fixed an issue - if a senator was replaced mid-term by another senator of the same seniority (usually, but not always, a first year senator replacing another first year senator), the chart was sometimes using the replacement instead of the original seat-holder (For instance, Richard Nixon / Thomas Kuchel, during the 82nd congress, 1951 - 1953). Thank you to Colin M. for noticing and reporting this!
2/18/2023 - Added senators from the 118th Congress
1/25/2021 - Added data table view
1/22/2021 - Tiles no longer link to senator's biography. It was cool, but kind of confusing on mobile. You should still check out the bioguide though.
1/21/2021 - Updated colors & highlight style based on feedback from color-blind user
Thanks for reading!
If you have any feedback, please feel free to contact me: wcdfyi ( at ) gmail.com