An impressively high number of U.S. senators are Eagle Scouts

You’ve heard it again and again: Eagle Scouts become sports heroes, astronauts, CEOs and high-ranking politicians.

Now we have the numbers to prove just how many U.S. Senators — some of the country’s most powerful politicians — earned Scouting’s highest honor in their youth.

That number: 10. Ten of the 80 male senators in the 114th U.S. Congress are Eagle Scouts. At 12.5 percent, that’s higher than most professions. It’s two times higher than the percentage of Boy Scouts who become Eagle Scouts (6 percent).

The Eagle Scout senators include members of both political parties who represent states from coast to coast.

Eagle Scout senators in the 114th U.S. Congress

  • Lamar Alexander, Tennessee
  • Sherrod Brown, Ohio
  • Thad Cochran, Mississippi
  • Mike Crapo, Idaho
  • Mike Enzi, Wyoming
  • Mike Lee, Utah
  • Jeff Merkley, Oregon
  • Gary Peters, Michigan
  • Jeff Sessions, Alabama
  • Pat Toomey, Pennsylvania

What about the U.S. House of Representatives?

At least 17 of the 347 men in the U.S. House are Eagle Scouts (4.9 percent). I say at least because there may be some not included in this count. (If so, let me know in the comments!)

As with the U.S. Senate, the U.S. House includes Eagle Scouts on both sides of the aisle and from sea to shining sea.

Eagle Scout representatives in the 114th U.S. Congress

  • Sanford Bishop, Jr., Georgia
  • Jim Bridenstine, Oklahoma
  • Chris Collins, New York
  • Jim Cooper, Tennesee
  • Mike Fitzpatrick, Pennsylvania
  • John Garamendi, California
  • Louie Gohmert, Texas
  • Sam Graves, Missouri
  • Jeb Hensarling, Texas
  • David McKinley, West Virginia
  • Phil Roe, Tennesee
  • Dana Rohrabacher, California
  • Pete Sessions, Texas
  • Christopher Smith, New Jersey
  • Steve Stivers, Ohio
  • Glenn Thompson, Pennsyvlania
  • Greg Walden, Oregon

How to contact these Eagle Scouts

I’m betting these Eagle Scouts in the House and Senate would enjoy hearing from fellow Scouts and Eagle Scouts.

You can learn how to contact the senators here and the representatives here.


Hat tip: Thanks to the National Eagle Scout Association’s Jeff Laughlin for the info.

33 Comments

  1. So is there a list of how many senators have been Scouts total? Not just in this Congress but overall. I’ve seen the number 71 but couldn’t confirm.

  2. Robert Dold, R-IL, is not only an Eagle but also a NOESA awardee from the Northeast Illinois Council.

  3. Your statistical work is again totally deceptive. The correct comparison would be that 12.5% of the current male senators are Eagle Scouts compared to 2% of the male population who are becoming Eagle Scouts (it was probably somewhat lower when these men were of Boy Scout age). The 6% number is irrelevant since it is the number of current Boy Scouts that become Eagle Scouts IN A SINGLE YEAR, not over their Scouting career. The more relevant number would be that about one third of Boy Scouts will become Eagle Scouts over their career. The difference between the one third and the 2% is because most boys are not ever in Boy Scouts (about 10% of available youth, which puts these numbers in the right ball park).
    Comparing apples and oranges and calling it pickles does not have any significance. When quoting and comparing numbers, it is important to be sure that (a) the numbers are correct, and (b) the numbers being compared are the same thing. If I said I was 6 feet tall and my son is 48 inches tall, would you agree that my son is 8 times as tall as I am (48 is 8 times 6, but the numbers are not comparable). Remember the first point of the Scout Law, A Scout is Trustworthy.

      • US census publishes population breakdown by gender and age. If you take the number of Eagle Scouts per year divided by the number of 18 year males, it comes out to very close to 2%.

        • Sometimes the “math” is difficult to pinpoint because not every Scout that becomes an Eagle does it at age 18 so is that equally not an “apples and oranges” argument as well? What about Scouts who become Eagle at 13, 14, 15 and so on? They are not 18 and don’t fit your model either unless I’m also missing some point.

          My council (in 2003) boasted 37,000 youth members and today it’s closer to 13,000 and the year my son made Eagle (2015) it was the largest Eagle Class in the history of the council. That same class in 2003 would be a little over 1% of all registered Scouts in the Council but in 2015 was a little over 3%. Now using those figures (the 1% vs 3%) can I not make an argument that more Scouts are interested in earning the rank in 2015 than in 2003? I would say that while true, the answer is no because those numbers are equally skewed by facts that don’t quite fit the template.

    • Question for clarification: when you say “about one third of Boy Scouts will become Eagle Scouts over their career,” are your calculations based on youth in the BSA’s organizational component for 10-ish-to-18-year-old young men called “Boy Scouts,” are you referring to all male youths in all the BSA’s uniformed youth programs (Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Varsity Scouts, Sea Scouts, and Venturers), or all youth in all the BSA’s uniformed youth programs?

      I’m not disputing your numbers – I just want to make sure I understand what they’re based on so I know which bushel the apples being compared came from. 🙂

      • I, too, would like to know this answer. For years the National Eagle Scout Association said that 4 percent of Boy Scouts become Eagle Scouts. Now you’re saying it’s 33 percent?

        • It seems to me that a percentage would need to be based simply on the number of boys eligible, that is Boy Scout membership only, for that year. Calculations of the number of boys who were in Cubs and other variables really only muddy the waters. If you make Eagle, no matter when you started, is the most important thing.

      • This is based on the number of Eagle Scouts per year and the number of New (or departing) boys in Boy Scout program (not Cub Scouts, Venturers, Sea Scouts). It is a somewhat rough and changing number since the program is shrinking and the number of Eagle Scouts varies each year, but it runs in the low 30% range (33%, 34% are various numbers I have calculated). I do the calculations based on numbers from ScoutNET provided to the National Advancement Committee/Task Force by Mike LoVecchio.

        • There’s no way a third of scouts become Eagles, maybe a third of the ones who stay until their 18th birthday, but I’m pretty sure nearly half of scouts don’t make it past their first year or two.

    • The one-third figure is an exaggeration based on the number of boys who age out as scouts. At one point, I did a figure using the cumulative number of Eagles over the cumulative number of boy scouts registered in BSA’s history, and came closer to the 6% figure. (Can’t remember if it was above or below.)

      • I am talking about current program numbers, not 100+ year historical numbers. If the number has averaged 6% over 100 years, it just goes to show that the number has risen dramatically. Of course the first few years it was 0%. It is now about 33%. You say the average over 100+ years is 6%. I have not verified this historical average but it would seem reasonable to me. I am also talking about just Boy Scouts, not Cub Scouts, Venturers, Sea Scouts, Explorers, etc.

        • I found my calculation (http://blog.scoutingmagazine.org/2015/03/30/what-percentage-of-boy-scouts-become-eagle-scouts/#comment-137701) was 3.9% based on centennial numbers.
          Why is this one relevant? Although most of our congressmen were not centagenarians, most would have been Boy Scout age around the 1970s … the decades of peak membership and consequently the ones that contribute the most weight in the cumulative figure.

          The one-third figure overestimates the time new Eagles have before they age out (average of one year), and grossly overestimates the retention of crossovers and 1st years that most troops experience. For example, Son #2 was the only Eagle from his entire den who crossed over. Son #1 had about half his den (all of whom crossed over) earn Eagle, but there was another entire den of crossovers, none of whom Eagled. So our experience was at most 25% in a good year, 6% in recent years, but that was high for our district. I’m finding it hard to believe that the national experience differed much from ours.

    • The numbers are definitely worth looking at, I’m going to take some time to wrap my head around them. Thanks for providing the info, Tom. Thanks aside, you might want to rethink the insinuation that Bryan isn’t Trustworthy based on this article!

  4. I’m not to fond of what either house of Congress has done for our country over the last several years and find virtually equal fault with both parties and their penchant to be overly partisan without the ability to listen, negotiate and compromise. I would bet a dollar to a doughnut that our Eagle Scout Senators and Representatives are some of the better if not the best members of Congress. Character Counts and so to does the leadership and listening skills you learn in Scouting. Hope we can elect some more Scouts, Venturers and Explorers, Eagle or not, this November from both parties. Good for Scouting and good for our country. Soapbox now stored!

  5. The 33% number seems to be high. In my past 10 years with my troop, we have 10 scouts earned the Eagle rank. With about 70 scouts gone through the troop over those 10 years, that works out to about 14%. Of course there may be “Eagle Factory” troops that cranks out a high number of “Eagles” but by and large most troops are pretty good at making sure that their Eagles have lived up to the expectation of the rank signified.

  6. It would have been nice to see the party affiliations of these Congressmen. It would be interesting to know how many of those “Eagle Senators” voted against common sense gun control on Monday night.

    • Two of the ten Eagle Scout Senators have “F” grades from the NRA – the same ones who are Democrats. They should redo their “Citizenship in the Nation” merit badge to remind themselves of the phrase “shall not be infringed” in the Second Amendment.

  7. I am sure it varies from location to location and unit to unit, but had 10 Scouts in my Tiger Den. By the time we were Webelos, we were up to 18. Out of those 18, 13 earned their AOL & crossed over into Boy Scouts. They just finished 8th grade getting ready to go into 9th. 8 of them are still in Scouting. I know that 6 are Life Scouts because 5 are in my Troop & I ran into another while he was at District getting his Eagle Project approved. I am fairly sure that the other 2 are also Life Scouts because they belong to the unit that my church sponsors & see them occasionally. I am only worried about 1 of them making Eagle. If all 8 make it, that would be 44% of those that were in my Webelos Den and 62% of those that crossed over.

    Trying to figure out what the statistics are nationally would be difficult as know the numerator to use, but coming up with the denominator is difficult.

  8. I believe Rep. Bob Dold District.10, Illinois is an Eagle Scout. He is up for reelection this year.

    • BTW: Citizenship in the Nation: All representatives are up for reelection in even numbered years. See Article I Section 2 of the Constitution.

  9. I would say that the 33% number is a fair number for our district based on the guidelines of only counting Boy Scouts in the program and using the cumulative eagles number over an 8 year period. Many boys (and families) have that as a set goal as opposed to when I was in scouting. And since we only have about 7% of the eligible youth that would be a tick above 2% in our area are Eagle Scouts.

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