clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Every congressman with facial hair, in one glorious chart

Phil Edwards is a senior producer for the Vox video team.

What is the true state of facial hair in Congress? This chart shows it, in all its bearded and mustachioed glory:

Congressional facial hair in 2015

Congressional facial hair in 2015. (Phil Edwards/Vox)

First, some caveats — this chart can fall apart if a congressman picks up a razor (or lets his stubble grow unchecked for a week). There are already some close shaves that made Representatives' recent official portraits outdated. For example, in his official house portrait, Elijah Cummings (D) of Maryland has a noticeable mustache that he's since shaved off. The same appears to be the case for David Scott (D) of Georgia. To try to correct for this, we looked at both official portraits and the most recent news service portraits of each representative and senator.

The survey includes 541 people (435 voting House members, 100 senators, and 6 non-voting House members), and 108 of those are women. That means out of the 433 men included, around 12 percent have some sort of facial hair.

Is representative democracy truly representative when it comes to facial hair? It's hard to tell. A 2014 consumer survey claimed that 17 percent of all American men had beards, but that's skewed by much heavier beard adoption among youth, with 35 percent of men ages 18 to 24 growing facial hair.

So congressional facial hair may just be lagging behind young hipsters and otherwise represent America's hair perfectly well.

Sign up for the newsletter Today, Explained

Understand the world with a daily explainer plus the most compelling stories of the day.