Data on the Humanities

Data on the Humanities


The American Academy of Arts & Sciences has published  its Humanities Indicators report for the United States, “The State of the Humanities: Higher Education 2015.” Among its findings:

  • Humanities represent a little more than 10% of all Bachelor’s degrees, slightly more than 8% of all doctoral degrees, and just under 4% of all masters degrees.
  • The number of students majoring in the humanities appears to have declined 4% at private schools and 1% at public schools over the past 20 years.
  • The most common profession for people whose highest degree is a bachelor’s in a humanities field is “Office and Administrative Support.” The most common profession for people who have a bachelor’s in the humanities and an advanced degree in any field is education and pre-college teaching, followed closely by law.
  • After college, the median earnings of humanities majors are somewhat lower than the median earnings of all workers with college degrees. Among humanities graduates with a terminal bachelor’s degree who were employed full-time in 2012, median annual earnings were $51,000, which placed the field above education and the arts, and on par with the social, behavioral, and life sciences.
  • Around 23% of all philosophy faculty are part-time and around 31% are not tenured or tenure-track. About two-thirds of other humanities disciplines have figures higher than this.
  • In 2012, spending for humanities research equaled 0.55% of the amount dedicated to science and engineering (when all scientific fields are considered). While comparatively quite small, the amount of funding for academic humanities research has increased in recent years. After adjusting for inflation, expenditures in 2012 (approximately $340.6 million) were 54.6% higher than in 2005.
  • In comparison to other fields, academic humanities research and development in 2012 was more likely to be funded either by educational institutions themselves or by not-for-profit entities, rather than federal and and state governments.
  • While the total number of humanities faculty members teaching in higher education increased by 51% at two- and four-year colleges from 1999-2012, so did the total number of faculty member in non-humanities fields.
  • In 2014, the average score on the SAT verbal test was near historic lows at 497.

There’s more information about these figures in the above-linked report and here.

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