If one were to arrange the members of Congress from richest to poorest, you’d find some familiar names near the top of the list.
Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., is the fourth-richest member, with an average net worth north of $231 million. Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., comes in at No. 9, with an average net worth of more than $101 million.
And near the bottom of that list you’d find another familiar name: Rep. Kevin Yoder, R-Kan. With an average net worth of negative $91,998, Yoder comes in as the 17th-poorest member of Congress, according to an analysis from the Center for Responsive Politics.
The center culled personal financial data from 2010, which all members of Congress and top members of the executive branch are required to disclose. Because a person’s net worth is fluid, the center’s analysis settled on an average amount for that year.
While just 1 percent of Americans are millionaires, the data revealed 47 percent of members of Congress are. It’s a disparity that social commentators have blamed for a perceived disconnect between Congress and the average American.
Yoder is not alone in recognizable names who have neared the bottom of Congress’s personal wealth list. In 2008, Vice President Joe Biden, then a senator, acknowledged he was the second poorest member, saying “I’m not proud of it. But that’s what happens when you get elected when you’re 29 years old.”
Yoder, who was elected at age 34, reported making $30,143 in 2010. About $26,000 of that came from his state representative salary, and about $4,000 came from his position as partner at the Olathe law firm Speer & Holliday.
Yoder also reported holding between $21,007 to $140,000 in assets, mostly savings and investment accounts. His debts range somewhere between $95,004 and $250,000, most of which is student loans. Yoder holds bachelor’s and law degrees from Kansas University.
The other members of Congress representing Douglas County are significantly wealthier. Rep. Lynn Jenkins reported an average net worth of $510,000. Sens. Jerry Moran and Pat Roberts reported average net worths of $768,000 and $845,000, respectively. Still, Jenkins, Moran and Roberts fall far short of the average net worth of their colleagues. That number is $5.9 million for members of the House and $13.2 million for members of the Senate.
By law, members of Congress are not required to list their government income or their property as assets, unless the property produces an income. To take a closer look at the data, visit the center.