After earning the Democratic Party’s nomination in Florida’s blue 10th Congressional District, 25-year-old Maxwell Frost is likely to win the Orlando-area congressional seat in November, which would make him the first Gen Z member of U.S. Congress.
Frost, who campaigned on a platform of civil rights, Medicare-for-all and marijuana legalization, was born in 1997, the earliest birth year for the generation of today’s teens and twenty-somethings, Gen Z, according to Pew Research Center. At 25, he has reached the minimum age to be able to hold congressional office.
This chart shows the members of the 117th U.S. Congress by generation (in percent).
As Gen Z is poised to make its entrance to U.S. Congress, Millennials—the generation before them who is now in their late 20s to early 40s—have only gained a small foothold as lawmakers while older generations still rule the legislature. Just 33 out of 435 voting members in the House—or 8%—are Millennials. The youngest among them is 27-year-old freshman Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC), whose term has seen some controversy, followed by 32-year-old Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), who became known for her ultra-progressive stance.
The U.S. Senate has only one Millennial member: John Ossoff, who started his term in 2021 as a new senator for Georgia. Born in 1987, 35-year-old Ossoff is more than seven years younger than the next-youngest United States senator, Josh Hawley of Missouri, who is 42 years old and was born in 1979. Hawley is a member of Gen X along with only 19 other senators.
80% of U.S. senators were born before 1965
Therefore, almost 80% of U.S. senators are either Baby Boomers or members of the Silent Generation, i.e. were born before 1965. A whopping 43% of senators have birth years in the 1950s, including prominent members like Chuck Schumer, Lindsey Graham and Susan Collins, while other well-known Baby Boomers like Elizabeth Warren (age 73) or Mitt Romney (age 75) were born in the second half of the 1940s. Bernie Sanders (age 80) and Mitch McConnell (age 80) are the most prominent members of the Silent Generation in the Senate—both were born before the end of WWII in the 1940s. Of the 11 Senate members of this generation, four were born in the 1930s.
House members are less old on average, even though Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, at age 82 is another member of the Silent generation and Baby Boomers still hold an absolute majority of House seats in the 117th Congress. With younger candidates stepping up in the midterms and many young voters eager to be represented by somebody closer to their age, the latter fact could change in 2023, however. The number of House incumbents defeated in primaries already rose to a 20-year high this week, according to Ballotpedia. While this was also aided by redistricting following the decennial 2020 Census, 2002 saw only eight incumbents defeated while 2012 saw 13 lose their nomination.
Maxwell Frost’s most-likely counterpart on the Republican side is Karoline Leavitt, who is running in the primary for New Hampshire’s 1st Congressional District but unlike Frost is up again an incumbent and even one from the rival party. A recent poll put Leavitt, who was also born in 1997, in a close second place behind 33-year-old candidate Matt Mowers, who like Leavitt has worked for the Trump administration. New Hampshire’s 1st Congressional District has seen four Republican terms and six Democratic terms in the past 20 years.

Charted by Statista

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