2019 Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities Report goes live

News Release 19-004

Digest and data tables provide an accurate look at who’s learning and who’s employed in science and engineering

March 28, 2019

The National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES) has released its 2019 Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering (WMPD) report, which provides detailed information about participation levels in science and engineering (S&E) education and employment.

“As the science and engineering community strives to broaden participation in education and careers, we need an accurate picture of where we are,” said National Science Foundation (NSF) Director France Córdova. “The Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities report is a valuable resource in providing that picture.”

NCSES, a statistical agency within NSF, produces the report every two years. WMPD focuses on women, persons with disabilities and minorities from three racial and ethnic groups — black or African American, Hispanic or Latino, and American Indian or Alaska Native. With few exceptions, these groups are underrepresented in S&E fields and occupations, meaning that their representation is smaller in S&E than in the U.S. population.

This year’s report indicates that, while these groups have generally increased their representation in S&E, they continue to be underrepresented in most fields.

“WMPD is more than just a single report or presentation,” said NCSES Director Emilda Rivers. “It is a vast, unique resource enabling ready access to data that facilitate and support exploration and analysis.”

The report offers statistics and analysis in four topic areas: enrollment, field of degree, employment status and occupation.

Some findings from the report:

  • The largest proportion of enrollment in private for-profit institutions is by students who are black or African American, Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander, or more than one race.
  • The largest proportion of enrollees in public institutions are Asian, Hispanic or Latino, and American Indian or Alaska Native students. The largest proportion of enrollees in private nonprofit institutions are students who are white or more than one race.
  • In 2016, women continued to hold a majority of the degrees in psychology (75 percent) and biological sciences (more than 50 percent) at all degree levels. In the social science fields, women earned nearly half or more than half of all degrees in 2016 except in economics.
  • Over the past two decades, the share of women receiving bachelor’s degrees in mathematics and statistics has declined.
  • Despite an increase in the number of women receiving computer science degrees over the past two decades, computer sciences has one of the lowest shares of women degree recipients among the broad fields of S&E.
  • Over the past two decades, blacks or African Americans have increased shares of bachelor’s degrees in psychology, social sciences and biological sciences. However, the share of bachelor’s degrees in mathematics and statistics earned by blacks or African Americans declined.
  • About 10 percent of employed scientists and engineers report one or more disabilities: that is, difficulties in hearing, vision, cognitive ability, ambulatory, self-care, or independent living.
  • Salaries of scientists and engineers vary across racial and ethnic groups and across occupations. Asian scientists and engineers had the highest median salary in S&E occupations ($100,000), while underrepresented minorities in S&E occupations had a median salary of $78,000.

NCSES maintains expansive WMPD data tables that present the latest S&E education and workforce data available from NCSES and other agencies. The tables provide detailed, field-by-field information that includes both percentages and numbers of people involved in S&E.

Congress mandated the biennial report in the Science and Engineering Equal Opportunities Act of 1980 as part of NSF’s mission to encourage and strengthen the participation of underrepresented groups in S&E.

NSF maintains a portfolio of programs aimed at broadening participation in S&E, including:

  • ADVANCE: Increasing the Participation and Advancement of Women in Academic Science and Engineering Careers.
  • LSAMP, the Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation.
  • NSF INCLUDES, which focuses on building networks that can scale up proven approaches to broadening participation.

For more information, including access to the report and data tables, see the WMPD website.


Media Contacts

Stanley Dambroski, NSF, (703) 292-7728, email: sdambros@nsf.gov

Program Contacts

Karen Hamrick, NSF, (703) 292-4784, email: khamrick@nsf.gov

The U.S. National Science Foundation propels the nation forward by advancing fundamental research in all fields of science and engineering. NSF supports research and people by providing facilities, instruments and funding to support their ingenuity and sustain the U.S. as a global leader in research and innovation. With a fiscal year 2020 budget of $8.3 billion, NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 40,000 competitive proposals and makes about 11,000 new awards. Those awards include support for cooperative research with industry, Arctic and Antarctic research and operations, and U.S. participation in international scientific efforts.

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By Fenny

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