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Face of the new Congress

  • House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of Calif., front row, center, poses with other female House members on the steps of the House on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013, prior to the official opening of the 113th Congress . (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

    House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of Calif., front row, center, poses with other female House members on the steps of the House on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013, prior to the official opening of the 113th Congress . (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

  • House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of Calif., front row, center, poses with other female House members on the steps of the House on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013, prior to the official opening of the 113th Congress . (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

    House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of Calif., front row, center, poses with other female House members on the steps of the House on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013, prior to the official opening of the 113th Congress . (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

  • House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of Calif., front row, center, poses with other female House members on the steps of the House on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013, prior to the official opening of the 113th Congress . (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
  • House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of Calif., front row, center, poses with other female House members on the steps of the House on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013, prior to the official opening of the 113th Congress . (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

Politically, the 113th Congress that was sworn in yesterday won’t be much of a change from the less-than-stellar 112th Congress it replaces: Democrats picked up a few seats in the House and Senate, but the balance of power is unchanged, with Republicans controlling the House and Democrats holding a majority in the Senate.

Yet a closer look finds that Congress is undergoing some of the changes that have altered the face of America in general, with women and minorities playing increasingly prominent roles.

A breakdown:

The numbers

The House has 233 Republicans and 200 Democrats. Each party should pick up one more seat when two vacancies are filled. Going into the election, the GOP edge was 242-193. Senate Democrats will have a caucus of 55, including two independents, Angus King of Maine and Bernie Sanders of Vermont. Republicans have 45. That’s a pickup of two seats for Democrats.

Women

The House will have 79 women, including 60 Democrats. At the end of the last session, there were 50 Democratic women and 24 Republican women. The new Senate will have 20 female members, an increase of three. That consists of 16 Democrats and four Republicans. The last Senate had 12 Democratic women and five Republicans.

Freshmen

With two vacancies to be filled, the House has 82 freshmen; 47 Democrats and 35 Republicans. As of the end of the last session, 87 of 103 freshmen were Republicans. The Senate will include 14 new faces, with nine Democrats and the independent King. Five are women. New senators include Brian Schatz, who was sworn in Dec. 27 to fill the seat of the late Hawaii Democrat Daniel Inouye.

African-Americans

The House will have 40 African-Americans, all Democrats. The number of Democrats is unchanged, although two Republicans will be gone: Allen West of Florida lost his re-election bid, and Tim Scott of South Carolina was appointed to fill the Senate seat of Jim DeMint, anoter South Carolina Republican, who is retiring. Scott will be the first black lawmaker in the Senate since Roland Burris, who retired in 2010 after filling the Senate seat of Barack Obama.

Hispanics

The new House will have 33 Hispanics, with 25 Democrats and eight Republicans. That’s up slightly from last year. The Senate will have three Hispanics: Democrat Robert Menendez of New Jersey, Republican Marco Rubio of Florida and Republican freshman Ted Cruz of Texas.

Other minorities

The new House will have nine Asian Americans, all Democrats. There are two American Indians: Tom Cole, an Oklahoma Republican, and Ben Lujan, a New Mexico Democrat.

Other facts

According to Roll Call, the average age of House members in the 113th Congress is 57; the average age of senators is 62. It estimates that the House will include some 277 Protestants and Catholics, 22 Jews, two Muslims and two Buddhists. The Senate will have 80 Protestants and Catholics and 10 Jews. The House will have its first Hindu, Rep.Tulsi Gabbard, a Democrat from Hawaii. Senate freshman Mazie Hirono, also of Hawaii, will be the Senate’s only Buddhist and its first Asian American woman. Also for the first time, white men will be a minority among House Democrats.

The above numbers do not include House delegates, all Democrats, who can participate in House committee activities but cannot vote on the House floor. Delegates are from American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Virgin Islands and the District of Columbia.

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