Over the past 30 years, congressional members have had larger offices in Washington, D.C., than in their districts or home states. But that gulf was slowly shrinking, until the number of outside-the-beltway staffers hit a wall a few years ago.
Data compiled by the R Street Institute show that Senate and House staffers in D.C. have hovered around 6,000 from 1987 to 2014. Over the same period, staff numbers back in the home state and district offices grew steadily to the point where, a few years ago, the differential shrank to just a few hundred.
However, in the past few years, there has been a noticeable drop in state and district-level staffers. This decline does not come from Senate offices which have seen a steady increase in the number of staffers in home state offices.
The drop stems largely from fewer House staffers in district offices. Between 2007 and 2011, there was an even balance between D.C. and non-D.C. House staffers. But starting in 2011, staff numbers outside of Washington fell by more than 500.