Old Congress, Young Congress

What is the age of the youngest member of the incoming 116th U.S. Congress?

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. How old is the oldest member of Congress? What the what?????

  3. Describe the difference between the median age of new members of Congress and of continuing (returning/incumbent) members of Congress?

  4. What explains this difference?

  5. Donald Trump is 72 years old. How much do you think his age has contributed to higher voter turnout among youth and the election of a younger Congress?

  6. Describe one political consequence of electing a Congress that is relatively younger than previous congresses?

  7. Describe a political issue or policy you would consider a youth issue, and a political issue or policy you would consider an elderly issue.

  8. Imagine the next Congress had a median age of 30 (!!!!!) Describe two policy changes which you imagine would result from this age change:

  9. Explain whether you think the incoming Congress is more likely to make policy to appeal to youth or to the elderly?

  10. As the median age of Congress is set to decrease, the median age of the U.S. is set to increase. Why do you think these countervailing trends are happening?

  11. Given the age requirements of the U.S. Constitution and the age of the youngest member of the U.S. Congress, which chamber must the 29 year-old Congressperson be a member of: the House or the Senate?

  12. If you were to rewrite the age requirements for the U.S. Congress for today, what would the age minimums be?

  13. We have age minimums for Congress. Explain whether you would support an age maximum for the U.S. Congress.

  14. Which American generation (Millennial, Gen X, Boomer, Silent) has the most members of the U.S. Congress?*

  15. Respond to the following claim: A Congress which (on average) is much older than Americans cannot represent America well. Respond to that claim.

  16. Do you think the election of a younger Congress will make people in your generation pay more attention to politics and be more likely to run for office in the future?

  17. In 1776, the American colonists left England because of “taxation without representation.” Would it be fair to say that people under the voting age have taxation without representation?

Visual Extension

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Learning Extension

Read the Pew Research Center’s analysis of age and the 116th Congress.

Action Extension

Contact one of the millennial members of Congress and write them a congratulatory email.

Goat Yoga in Washington, D.C. Extension (kids in the capital)

Goat Yoga  is a real thing.

Goat Yoga is a real thing.