Obama administration most diverse ever

One scholar says the administration's diversity "suggests a true changing of the guard"


Alex Koppelman
June 22, 2009 8:05PM (UTC)

Former President Bush made a big deal out of the fact that he hired minorities for some high-profile jobs in his administration. And he did a pretty decent job of it, too. But President Obama has, fairly quietly, put together a team that's setting a new standard for diversity in American government.

new survey by the National Journal shows that the administration is the most diverse one yet. Fewer than half of the Cabinet members appointed by Obama -- nine out of 22 -- are white men, and the same holds true for senior-level positions in the administration generally. Fred Greenstein, who studies the presidency at Princeton University, told National Journal that the administration's composition "suggests a true changing of the guard." A former Clinton White House staffer, Marcia Hale, said, "There's diversity in this crowd that nobody else has approached before."

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But there's still some room for improvement. True, while 80 percent of Bush administration officials in 2001 were white, Obama has brought that number down to 75 percent. But the U.S. is only 66 percent white. And 66 percent of Obama's senior officials are male, compared to 74 percent of Bush's in 2001, the country is only 48 percent male.


Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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