How many millionaires are in Congress?

The U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C.


STEVE CHIOTAKIS: We thought we'd test our knowledge of
international affairs once again, as we do every so often. And we're glad to bring in Stephan Richter, with this morning's Marketplace Globalist Quiz. Good morning, Stephan.

STEPHAN RICHTER: Good morning Steve. Are you ready for today's quiz?


RICHTER: Of the 535 members of the U.S. Congress, what's the share of millionaires? Is it A) less than 10 percent, B) close to half of all the members of Congress, or C) even two-thirds of the members of Congress.

CHIOTAKIS: I know they call the Senate the "millionaire's club." Well there's 100 of them right there. I would say half.


RICHTER: Half is a brilliant answer, but since you talked about the Senate, you should have gone for two-thirds are actually millionaires.

CHIOTAKIS: So Stephan, I'm curious about what's the comparison between how much the lawmakers make and the rest of us make in this country?

RICHTER: The median U.S. family has a net worth of about $120,000. For the average member of the U.S. House of Representatives, it's $666,000. So that goes to show that in terms of the representativeness of the U.S. Congress, there's a lot of rich people there and very few average folks.

CHIOTAKIS: Well I'm headed to Washington then. That's where the money is, Stephan.

RICHTER: That is probably truer than we all wish for.

CHIOTAKIS: And thanks for providing us with that insight, Stephan.

RICHTER: It was my pleasure, dollar for dollar.

CHIOTAKIS: Stephan Richter is publisher and editor-in-chief of The Globalist. To learn more about the global economy, politics and culture, visit TheGlobalist.com.

About the author

Stephan Richter is the publisher and editor-in-chief of The Globalist, a daily online magazine on the global economy, politics and culture.
Log in to post16 Comments


Metrics aside, clearly members of Congress are anything but representative of the general population. Does this concern anyone?

Did you compare the median net worth of families to the mean net worth of congresspeople (a meaningless exercise), or do you not know that average can refer to the mean, the median or the mode? Please consult a middle school mathematics text and get back to us with a clarification. This article told me nothing about the net worth of congresspersons, but certainly confirmed my opinion about the inability of journalists to understand and report on even the simplest of statistics.

I too think the 120k is high for medium net worth for the average joe. But I do think that 666k is very apt number for a member of the house. Sign of the Beast and all that is evil.

clearly the 120k is correct because it is an average - plenty of rich to balance the poor. its net worth so 1-2 paychecks plus a house will get u there.

my Q is: r they millionaires b4 they take office? how many gained wealth after becoming reps?

my comment is: this is not news. good reminder but not "new" our reps have ALWAYS been wealthy

I'm curious what the statistics are. For example, Stephan says that the median US family has a net worth of $120,000 (really!? that seems awfully high, especially with 10-20% of the workforce having been unemployed recently), and for the average (mean) member of the US House, it's $666,000.
Is that median vs. mean? Is it household vs. individual? What is it for the senate? How many are millionaires before they arrive in Congress? How many families are dual income in Congress?
Where can we check these facts or learn for ourselves?

Congress is full of elitists..."I work way harder than you" elitists on the right and "I know way better than you" elitists on the left. Politics is mostly an appeal to these two forms of self-righteousness within ourselves.


With Generous Support From...