The oldest convention ever gets a little younger

  • On January 2nd, the middle member of Congress will be 61.7 years old.
  • On January 3, when the 118th Congress begins, the median member will be 59.2 years old.
  • The new convention will have 107 octogenarians, fewer than 128 members.

The current Congress is the oldest in United States history — the result of a combination of factors that favor incumbents, protect seniority, and deprive younger generations of proportional representation.

But on January 3rd that will change – at least a little.

The incoming Congress is likely to be considerably younger than the outgoing one, in part due to significant shifts in the composition of the Congress. These include a once-per-decade election cycle, some notable retirements, and some lawmaker deaths. A competitive internecine primary cycle and a series of inverted seats for each party also contributed.

On the last day of the current 117th Congress, the median member will actually be 61.7 years old, the oldest registered member. At noon on Jan. 3, when the new 118th Congress takes office, the median member will be 59.2 years old, down 2.5 years in a matter of minutes, according to an insider analysis of Congressional age data.

This number may shift slightly as some variables and vacancies are addressed.

For example, the house race in California’s 13th Circuit was not called. There is an unconvened Senate race in Georgia that will end in a runoff next week. The death of Rep. Donald McEachin, a Democrat who represented Virginia’s 4th District, will also require a special election to replace him. The outcome of these three races is unlikely to significantly affect the overall age of Congress.

Assuming current members, the number of seventy-year-olds in Congress will drop significantly in January.

On the last day of the 117th Congress, 128 Members and Senators will be over 70 years old. On the first day of the 118th Congress, 107 members will be over 70 years old.

If the current 535 members of Congress continue to hold office without resignations, deaths or special elections, the 118th Congress could indeed set new records.

Assuming current membership, the median age of Congress on December 1, 2024 will be 61.1 years – just under the advanced age of the current Congress.

But again, assuming current membership numbers, on December 1, 2024, Congress would actually have 137 members over the age of 70, which would mean that more than one in four members of the Congressional body will be a 70-year-old.

That want be record.

By all accounts, the top three new leaders for the Democratic Party in the House of Representatives will be 31 years younger than the current top three – Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and Majority Whip James Clyburn.

In September, Insider’s Red, White, and Gray project explored the costs, benefits and dangers of living in a democracy run by elderly people, where issues are fundamental to the nation’s youth and future – technology, civil rights, energy, environment – ​​are largely in the hands of those past their prime.

Join Insider on December 15th at the Caveat in New York City for a special TTRPG event, prison and democracy. Beginning at 9:30pm ET, you and host Walt Hickey will explore the area America’s rapidly aging Congress as part of the Insider’s Red, White, and Gray series..

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