March/April 2013 Issue • Volume 41 • Issue 3

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Science Policy

The Latest Data on Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering

Science Policy

Women, persons with disabilities, and underrepresented racial and ethnic groups (i.e., African Americans, Hispanics and American Indians) continue to be underrepresented in science and engineering (S&E) according to a recent report from the National Science Foundation. The report, Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering: 2013, highlights the most recent data on S&E education and employment patterns for these groups.

The findings show that women earn a smaller proportion of degrees in many S&E fields, although their participation in most of these fields has risen during the last 20 years. Women’s participation is greatest in psychology, where more than 70 percent of degrees in that field were awarded to women. Women’s participation is lowest in computer science and engineering—18 to 28 percent of degrees in those fields were awarded to women since 1991. Underrepresented minorities’ shares of S&E bachelor’s and master’s degrees have been rising during the last 20 years. Since 1991, the greatest rise in the share of S&E bachelor’s degrees earned by underrepresented minorities has been in psychology, the social sciences and computer sciences.

Unemployment rates are higher for minority scientists and engineers than for Caucasian scientists and engineers, and the rate is higher for Asian females than for Asian male scientists and engineers. For more information on this report, visit www.nsf.gov/statistics/wmpd/2013/start.cfm.


Population Reference Bureau: Changes in U.S. Foreign Born May Slow Population Growth

The social and demographic profile of the U.S. foreign-born population is changing rapidly, according to recent data released by the U.S. Census Bureau. An article from the Population Reference Bureau states that these changes, which include a sharp decline in early marriage and an increase in college enrollment, are challenging common assumptions about the foreign born and have implications for future population growth in the United States. A December 2012 Pew Research Center report, “U.S. Birth Rate Falls to a Record Low; Decline Is Greatest Among Immigrants,” shows that there has been a sharp drop in the number of births to foreign-born women, from 102 births per 1,000 foreign-born women in 2007 to 88 in 2010. The changing patterns of education and marriage may reflect the changing composition of the foreign-born population. For more information, visit www.prb.org/Articles/2012/us-foreign-born.aspx

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