Education levels among U.S. Elected Officials Part Two

By Saide Ashaboglu

Last post (link) we discussed how U.S. politicians’ education levels differed from the general population, which yielded an interesting comparison.  Fora second deep dive, we decided to look at differences between the Democratic and Republican parties. The politicians we looked at hold office as Representatives, Senators, and Governors.

Ed_3_062415One question that intrigued us was if there might be a difference in the number of Ivy League graduates between the two parties because Ivy League schools are some of the most expensive and most prestigious in the world. Within this comparison we included all Ivy League degrees rather than exclusively focusing on Bachelor Degrees. Politicians within the Republican Party have a higher attendance in Ivy League schools with 27% of the sample of Representatives, Senators and Governors having acquired a degree from the prestigious institutions. On the other hand, within the Democratic Party, only 9% of the audience has attended an Ivy League college.

Ed_4_062415Of course, it is not only Ivy League’s that are costly investments in the U.S.; being able to obtain multiple degrees in the United States adds another layer of costs for parents and students alike. When looking at the number of degrees that our politicians have obtained during their academic careers, a parallel pattern to the Ivy League attendance pops up. Among Democrats, 53% have two degrees and 8% have three degrees. In contrast, according to the Republican education data, 60% of politicians in this party have two degrees and 16% have three degrees under their belt.

Ed_5_062415When thinking about passing legislation, we wanted to see if there were differences in the number of Law Degrees that politicians in the two parties obtained. Similar to the number of multiple degrees obtained, 47% of Republicans have a Law Degree, while 35% of Democrats have Law Degrees. Interestingly, when looking at the distribution of Law Degrees among genders within the two parties, 13% of Republican females hold a law degree, while only 2% of Democrat females hold the same degree. Inversely, more Democrat males are likely to have obtained a law degree compared to their Republican counter parts (57% and 34% respectively).

Although the findings from the initial post solidified our hypothesis that Politicians who represent us have higher levels of education when compared to the general population, the split between the two parties was an interesting find. Seeing the dichotomy between the Democratic and Republican Party members and the opportunities they have had in their academic careers is an interesting data point to add to their already juxtaposed perspectives within the U.S. political arena.