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Sociologists Often Need Up-to-date Data on the Profession in a Hurry­ . . .
So ASA’s Website Now Provides “Today’s Data, Yesterday

The ASA Research Program on the Profession and Discipline just completed an updating of comprehensive trend data on the sociological profession (available at Our goal is for a wide array of members of the profession to benefit from the ready availability of these data on the state of sociology and to allow their use for research, policy, and planning purposes.

Department chairs, graduate and undergraduate directors, members of committees, those employed outside academia, and students frequently contact ASA with urgent requests for important and often complex data. And, to add to the challenge, they need the data yesterday. A common question is, “What are the average salaries of new assistant professors in sociology?” The typical follow-up explanatory refrain is, “I’m going to be discussing salaries with the Dean in an hour.” The ASA website provides the data more quickly than phoning or e-mailing the Research Program.

Currently, the majority of these data are from the Division of Science Resource Statistics of the National Science Foundation. Trend data show increases and declines in sociology as a profession. For example:

  • Sociology has a smaller share of non-Hispanic Whites than other social and behavioral sciences, including economics, political science, and psychology, as of the most recent data.
  • Graduate enrollments in sociology programs have increased by about 7 percent over the last decade.
  • The number of temporary (non-U.S.) residents enrolled in sociology graduate programs has declined by 24 percent since about 1992.
  • Recipients of a sociology doctorate have a significantly lower unemployment rate than those with other social science doctorates.
  • Sociology PhDs are more likely than those with doctorates from many other social sciences to be employed in educational institutions.
  • Sociology faculty salaries increased by 1.5 percent in public universities and by 3.4 percent in private universities in 2002/2003 compared to academic year 2001/2002.

The Research Program website also includes a complete list of data sources for further research. The Research Department is planning future updates of data briefs on faculty salaries and retirements, and will soon post a new working paper on how institutional resources and family strategies impact the early career success of sociologists. We also will add data from some of ASA’s own recent surveys to the site, as well as data on the job market. Email us if you have suggestions at,, or