Why So Many Lawyers? Occupational Backgrounds in Congress (Infographic)
Elected officials are our representatives. At least, that’s what the textbooks says. A quick look at the occupational backgrounds in the House of Representatives and the Senate shows they come from very narrow fields, ones very different than the general population.
The over-representation of lawyers in government is a well known fact, but a main trend, seen clearly in the two animated graphs below, shows the rise of the career politician.
“Everytime there is a post about net neutrality or piracy laws or freedom of information issues or anything like that we complain about how politicians don’t know *** about technology – because they don’t. And Engineers can’t be bothered to become politicians because…well who would want to give up tinkering to instead go politicking.” comment reddit user pohatu. “We have a society where we are increasingly technological and scientific and we have no one from the scientific and engineering community as political leaders.”
“‘Career politician’ has negative connotations, but given the reality we live in, the alternative is worse.” Noted another user, ocdscale. “If you get rid of career politicians and fill Washington with professionals from various fields who have come to serve the public for (let’s say) 5 years before returning home, what happens? You get a bunch of well intentioned people who have no idea how things work. The most experienced people in Washington end up being the people who aren’t elected to office, the lobbyists.”
This is the same data as an area map, designed by a different user.