The U.S. Congress speaks at nearly a full grade level lower than it did seven years ago, according to a new Sunlight Foundation analysis. Using the CapitolWords.org website -- which features the most popular words and phrases in the Congressional Record since 1996 -- Sunlight reviewed the vocabulary and sentence structure of what members of Congress are saying.
Today’s Congress speaks at about a 10.6 grade level, down from a high of 11.5 in 2005. By comparison, the U.S. Constitution is written at a 17.8 grade level, the Federalist Papers at a 17.1 grade level and the Declaration of Independence at a 15.1 grade level. The Flesch-Kincaid test was used to conduct the analysis, which equates higher-grade levels with longer words and longer sentences. Click to see the Full Analysis.