Disparities In Stem Employment By Sex, Race, And Hispanic Origin - American Community Survey Reports (U.s. Census Bureau)


Disparities in STEM Employment by Sex, Race,
and Hispanic Origin
American Community Survey Reports
By Liana Christin Landivar
Issued September 2013
and Hispanics are less likely to be in a science or engi-
neering major at the start of their college experience,
Industry, government, and academic leaders cite
and less likely to remain in these majors by its con-
increasing the science, technology, engineering, and
Because most STEM workers have a science
mathematics (STEM) workforce as a top concern. The
or engineering college degree, underrepresentation
National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of
among science and engineering majors could contrib-
Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine describe
ute to the underrepresentation of women, Blacks, and
STEM as “high-quality, knowledge-intensive jobs . . .
Hispanics in STEM employment.
that lead to discovery and new technology,” improv-
ing the U.S. economy and standard of living.
In 2007,
This report details the historical demographic com-
Congress passed the America COMPETES Act, reautho-
position of STEM occupations, followed by a detailed
rized in 2010, to increase funding for STEM education
examination of current STEM employment by age
and research.
and sex, presence of children in the household, and
race and Hispanic origin based on the 2011 American
One focus area for increasing the STEM workforce has
Community Survey (ACS). The report concludes with
been to reduce disparities in STEM employment by sex,
an examination of the demographic characteristics of
race, and Hispanic origin. Historically, women, Blacks,
science and engineering graduates who are currently
and Hispanics have been underrepresented in STEM
employed in a STEM occupation.
Researchers find that women, Blacks,
Committee on Prospering in the Global Economy of the 21st
Century: An Agenda for American Science and Technology, 2007,
to the White-alone population as White, the Black-alone population as
“Rising Above the Gathering Storm: Energizing and Employing America
Black, the Asian-alone population as Asian, and the American Indian
for a Brighter Economic Future,” P .1, National Academy of Sciences,
and Alaska Native-alone population as American Indian and Alaska
National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine of the
Native. Because of a small number of sample observations, estimates
National Academies, The National Academies Press, Washington, DC.
for Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander are combined with those
America Creating Opportunities to Meaningfully Promote
who report Some Other Race. In the analyses presented here, the
Excellence in Technology, Education, and Science Act, Public Law No:
term “non-Hispanic White” refers to people who are not Hispanic and
110-69, August 9, 2007, <www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/PLAW-110publ69
who reported White and no other race. The Census Bureau uses non-
Hispanic Whites as the comparison group for other race groups and
Federal surveys now give respondents the option of reporting
Hispanics. Because Hispanics may be any race, data in this report for
more than one race. Therefore, two basic ways of defining a race
Hispanics overlap with data for racial groups.
group are possible. A group such as Asian may be defined as those
Amanda L. Griffith, 2010, “Persistence of Women and Minorities
who reported Asian and no other race (the race-alone or single-race
in STEM Field Majors: Is It the School That Matters?” Economics of
concept) or as those who reported Asian regardless of whether they
Education Review 29(6): 911–922.
also reported another race (the race-alone-or-in-combination concept).
For more information on the educational background of
The body of this report (text, figures, and tables) shows data using the
STEM workers, see Liana Christin Landivar, 2013, “The Relationship
first approach (race alone). Use of the single-race population does not
Between Science and Engineering Education and Employment in
imply that it is the preferred method of presenting or analyzing data.
STEM Occupations,” ACS-23, U.S. Census Bureau, available at
The Census Bureau uses a variety of approaches. This report will refer
U.S. Department of Commerce
Economics and Statistics Administration


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