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Social background of Members of Parliament 1979-2017

Published Thursday, September 28, 2017

This briefing paper provides data on the gender, age, ethnicity and educational backgrounds of MPs elected at the 2017 General Election and how this has changed over time.

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Data on occupational background is currently only available up to 2015. A further update will be made when 2017 data becomes available.


There were 208 female MPs elected at the 2017 General Election (32% of all MPs). This is the highest ever number and proportion. In 1979 there were 19 female MPs, 3% of the total.


52% (339) of MPs elected in 2017 were aged over 50. Following the election, the proportion of MPs aged 70 and over increased to 4% (28). 14 MPs aged under 30 were elected (2% of the total).


52 MPs were from non-white backgrounds, 8% of the total. Around 14% of the whole UK population are from a non-white background.


The Sutton Trust estiamtes that 29% of MPs elected at the 2017 General Election attended private schools and 23% attended Oxford or Cambridge.

Parliamentary experience

87 MPs elected in 2017 had no previous Parliamentary experience (13%). 551 (65%) had been MPs in the 2015-17 Parliament and 12 were re-elected having served as MPs further in the past.

Commons Briefing papers CBP-7483

Authors: Lukas Audickas; Cassie Barton

Topics: Central government, Elections, Members of Parliament, Parliament, Political parties

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