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Database Examines U.S. Science, Engineering Labor Force

September 18, 2007

New database from the Population Reference Bureau reveals state variations in the size and characteristics of the science and engineering labor force in U.S.


WASHINGTON, D.C. /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Population Reference Bureau has produced a series of state profiles, funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, that present new social, demographic, and economic information about the U.S. science and engineering labor force.

"This is the first database that provides detailed state-level estimates of earnings, education, and the participation of minorities, women, and foreign-born workers in the high-tech economy," says Mark Mather, lead researcher on the project. Key findings include:

  • Nationwide, there were 7.4 million scientists and engineers in the United States in 2005, representing 5 percent of the total labor force.

     

  • In 2005, states with the highest proportions of scientists and engineers were Maryland (8 percent), and Colorado, Massachusetts, Virginia, and Washington (7 percent each).

     

  • The median annual earnings for people in S&E occupations were $59,000, compared with $28,000 for people in all occupations nationwide. Maryland and New Jersey had the highest median science and engineering earnings, at $70,000 each.

     

  • In New Jersey, nearly three-fourths of the S&E workforce had a bachelor's degree or higher in 2005, and median earnings in that state were $25,000 higher than those of Mississippi, where only 50 percent of the S&E labor force held at least a bachelor's degree.

     

  • In 2005, racial and ethnic minorities accounted for about one-fourth (26 percent) of the U.S. science and engineering labor force. Georgia and Maryland both had relatively high proportions of African Americans in S&E jobs. New Mexico had the highest proportion of S&E jobs filled by Latinos. And Asians accounted for 29 percent of the S&E labor force in California.

     

  • In some states, the foreign-born population also makes up a sizeable-and growing-share of the S&E workforce. In California and New Jersey, more than a third of the S&E labor force was foreign-born in 2005.

     

  • Nationwide, only one-fourth of science and engineering jobs are held by women. In 2005, women made up more than half of all social scientists, but the female shares of IT workers (26 percent) and engineers (13 percent) were much lower. Women are still underrepresented in the highest-paying positions, especially in the natural and physical sciences, mathematics, and engineering.

Based on data from the Census Bureau's 2005 American Community Survey, the detailed estimates of the S&E labor force for each state, the District of Columbia, and the United States are available on the PRB Web site.

The Population Reference Bureau informs people around the world about population, health, and the environment, and empowers them to use that information to advance the well-being of current and future generations.


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