APA Member Demographics


The American Philosophical Association (APA) has published a table that provides some basic demographic information about its membership, including gender, race/ethnicity, LGBT status, disability status, employment status, and tenure status. According to the introductory page, “All demographic data collection is voluntary, and members may provide or update their information online through their member profiles at any time or in hard copy when joining or renewing their membership.”

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ejrd
6 years ago

Given the response rates and the self-report nature of the information, I’m not so sure how useful the data are. Less than half of those who responded chose to include a response for Gender and only 40% reported for race/ethnicity even fewer for some of the other categories.Report

Anon Grad
Anon Grad
6 years ago

This seems a bit odd to me, particularly the disparity in who identified as “disabled”. Almost all the “disabled” philosophers are either regular members or student associates. The number of regular members is roughly 5000, with roughly 2% identifying as disabled. The number of student members is roughly 2000, with roughly 5% identifying as disabled.

Compare this to “emeritus”. Out of roughly 1500 emeritus, we have only 3 (!) identifying as disabled (roughly 0.2%). Are there really 10 times fewer disabled emeritus members than disabled regular members? I suspect this is self-reporting gone wrong and tracks a difference in how older generations understand “disabled” more than anything about APA demographics.Report

Kenny
Reply to  Anon Grad
6 years ago

Actually, comparing the numbers for “Regular” and “Student” members, I notice some more interesting things. Approximately the same proportion of each group filled out gender information and race/ethnicity information. The proportions of male to female are quite comparable, but the proportions of race responses are quite different – almost all racial categories had nearly the same number of student responses as regular member responses, except for “white”, which has twice as many regular responses as student responses.

With LGBT and disability status, we don’t know how many people considered the question at all – we just see how many gave one particular response. Interestingly, just like the racial minorities, nearly the same number of students reported disability status as regular members, even though there are half as many student members. But nearly twice as many student members reported LGBT status!

I don’t know if all of this just means that minorities at the student level are more likely to self-report than among regular members, or if it means that all of these minority groups are underrepresented among regular members compared to students. My guess would be some of each, though it would be interesting to know more about how much.Report

ML
ML
6 years ago

Even subtracting the student members, a good portion of tenure status is not reported. Perhaps adjuncts are reluctant to reveal their status because they are afraid their work would not be taken as seriously? Those self-reported numbers are quite low given the high number of adjunct professors compared to tenure-track professors.Report

anonymouslbgt
anonymouslbgt
6 years ago

I am faculty, not adjunct, and did not report lbgt status. In filling out the form it wasn’t clear to me how the information would be used. (e.g. if people pulled up my APA profile, would it have lbgt status ticked?) So, in addition to my own privacy concerns and concerns of prudence, I was also concerned that if such information became tied to the department in which I am now employed, it would give the misleading impression to some that it’s a safe place to be. Or, that I would be asked by people I don’t know whether it is (which, given that it’s not, would also not exactly be a safe question to answer). But maybe the information is only being treated aggregatively in the way indicated in the link and I just didn’t pay much attention filling out the form–that’s certainly possible, given the number of things I have to clear from my desk on any given day. At any rate, the actual number is at least 104 of regular members. I wonder how much higher it is. …Report