Pew Research Center Report Documents Racial Gap in STEM Degree Attainment and Employment

A new report from the Pew Research Center finds that Black workers remain underrepresented in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) workforce compared with their share of all workers, including in computing jobs, which have seen considerable growth in recent years. And current trends in STEM degree attainment appear unlikely to substantially narrow the gap, according to the Center’s analysis of federal employment and education data.

Black adults are less likely to earn degrees in STEM than other degree fields, and they continue to make up a lower share of STEM graduates relative to their share of the adult population.

Black workers comprise 11 percent of all employed adults, compared with 9 percent of those in STEM occupations. Their share is lower in some STEM job clusters, including just 5 percent in engineering and architecture jobs. There has been no change in the share of Black workers in STEM jobs since 2016.

Black students earned 7 percent of STEM bachelor’s degrees as of 2018, the most recent year available, below their share of all bachelor’s degrees (10 percent) or their share of the adult population (12 percent).

Black adults are also underrepresented among those earning advanced degrees in STEM, especially among those earning Ph.D. or other research doctorates.

The full report, “STEM Jobs See Uneven Progress in Increasing Gender, Racial and Ethnic Diversity,” can be found here.


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