Washington Update

National Science Board Highlights New Statistics Report

By: Naomi Charalambakis
Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Last month, the National Science Board convened to discuss an array of science policy issues, including its latest report, Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering. Released in April, the biannual report provides statistical information about these three groups’ participation in science education and employment. Data in the 2021 report was collected pre-pandemic.

Statistics in the 2021 report are organized into the following areas: education enrollment, field of degree, employment status, occupation, and disability. Overall, the data demonstrate continued positive progress in terms of the number and percentage of women, minorities, and persons with disabilities receiving doctorates and entering the science and engineering workforce. However, these groups remain underrepresented when compared to the total population.

For example, although women comprise 50.1 percent of the U.S. population, only 38.5 percent of women with science, engineering, and health doctoral degrees hold academic positions. A similar trend exists for underrepresented minorities in academia, with this group representing over a third of the U.S. population yet retaining only 9 percent of academic appointments. Individuals with one or more disabilities also hold 9 percent of academic doctoral positions despite accounting for over 10 percent of the population.

Continued efforts remain necessary to ensure that the share of women, minorities, and persons with disabilities in the academic and labor workforce accurately reflects the U.S. population. To learn more about the report—including data tables and infographics—visit the report’s dedicated website.