Participation Rates by Race in Economics, the Social Sciences, and STEM fields

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Click on the graphs above to zoom.

Summary: The data above demonstrate more attention should be paid to underrepresented minorities in the field of economics. The significant difference in participation is especially evident for Black and Hispanic students. The graph on the top depicts the percentage of Bachelor's degrees earned by Economics students broken down by race as of 2009. The left-most graph shows these percentages for students within STEM fields and the right-most graph shoes these percentages for students across the social sciences (excluding Psychology). By comparing the graphs, one can see that Black students earned 5.3 percent of Bachelor’s degrees in Economics, whereas Black students received 8 percent of degrees in STEM fields and 10.1 percent of degrees in social science fields. A similar pattern emerges for Hispanic students who received 6.4 percent of bachelor’s degrees in Economics compared to 7.3 percent of Bachelor’s degrees in STEM fields and 9.9 percent of the Bachelor’s degrees in the Social Sciences. The participation rates of minority races in Economics are much lower than even the rates seen among STEM disciplines, suggesting that greater attention to diversity in Economics (similar to the level of concern shown in STEM fields) is necessary.


U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics (NCES); Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System(IPEDS) Completions, 1995-2009 (Washington , D.C.: NCES, 2011). Created by data provided by WebCaspar.