Where do STEM Graduates Work?

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Written By: Liana Christin Landivar and Anthony Martinez

In 2012, 14.8 million employed college graduates reported having a bachelor’s degree in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).  About one-quarter of these graduates work in a STEM occupation, so where do the others work?

Many STEM graduates go into non-STEM management, health care or education. However, not all workers in a STEM occupation have a STEM degree or a STEM degree related to their specific occupation. For example, many employed in computer occupations have a degree in computers, math or statistics, but this occupation also draws from a variety of majors, such as engineering, business and social sciences.

You can see the relationship between college major and occupation in a new interactive graphic that highlights the diverse employment patterns of college graduates. You can also explore how these patterns differ by sex, race and Hispanic origin.

The length of each circle segment shows the proportion of people who graduated in each college major and are employed in each occupation group. The thickness of the lines between majors and occupations indicates the share of people in that major-occupation combination. Lines highlighted in color show the proportion of college graduates who work in STEM. You can hover over majors individually to see which occupations employ them.

For example, if you hover over engineering or computers, math and statistics majors, you can see that about half go into a STEM occupation. If you hover over science graduates, you can see that most are not employed in STEM.


Engineering majors and Biological, environmental, and agricultural science majors

This visualization lets you look at college major and employment patterns by sex, race and Hispanic origin. Comparing the graphics for men and women who are STEM majors, for example, we see that men are more likely to major in engineering and are more likely to be employed in STEM occupations. Women are more likely to major in psychology, a major that sends a larger share of its graduates into non-STEM occupations.

When comparing the graphics by race, Asians have the largest percentage of STEM workers, partially explained by their representation in specific college majors. Of all college majors, engineering has the largest percentage of Asian graduates (22 percent), while education has the smallest percentage of Asian graduates (3 percent).

Searching for the numbers behind the data visualization? Take a look at the new tables on field of degree and occupation by sex, race and Hispanic origin.

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Who Faces More Family Instability: Married or Nonmarried First-Time Mothers?

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Written by: Lindsay M. Monte

In the Fertility of Women in the United States: 2012 report, we use June 2012 Current Population Survey data to examine family instability. A common definition of family instability is considered to be changes in the composition of a family that are not caused by either birth or death — such as divorce.  Studying instability is important because other research has linked family instability to negative outcomes for both adults and children.

New questions were added to the June 2012 Current Population Survey Fertility Supplement asking about women’s relationship status — married or cohabiting — at the time of their first birth. The data from these questions allow us to look at trends in nonmarital births over time, as well as explore the characteristics of women who have had nonmarital births.

To examine the implications of first-birth circumstances for later familial instability, we used logistic regression models to predict, based on her relationship status at first birth, the likelihood that a woman was married at the time of the survey, as well as the likelihood that she lived in a blended family. By blended family, we mean that she had a stepchild in the home or had a spouse or partner present who was a stepfather to at least one of her children.

After accounting for women’s demographic characteristics (such as their race, nativity and number of children ever born), we found that women who were not married when they had their first child were less likely than women who were married when they became mothers to be married at the time of the survey. This suggests either that women who were not married at their first birth were less likely to ever marry or that their marriages did not last.

Furthermore, among women who were living with a child, women who were not married at their first birth were more likely to live in a blended family at the time of the survey than women who were married when they became mothers. This suggests that women with nonmarital first births experience higher family turbulence than women whose first birth was in marriage.

Taken together, these data suggest that women with nonmarital first births may face greater family instability than women with marital first births do.

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Older Workers Are Staying Longer in the Workforce

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Written By:  Loraine A. West

Participation in the labor force has been rising for older adults for the past decade or longer. By 2010, the labor force participation rate for the population age 65 and older reached 22.1 percent for men and 13.8 percen t for women, up from 17.7 percent and 9.4 percent, respectively, in 2000. In contrast, labor force participation for the U.S. population 16 and older fell from 67.1 percent in 2000 to 64.7 percent in 2010.

The recent upward trend is a reversal of the decades-long decline in participation rates for older men (see Figure 1), according to a new report titled 65+ in the United States: 2010. The introduction of the Social Security system and the provision of health insurance through Medicare contributed toward earlier retirement for many in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. For women, the recent upward trend followed decades of relative stability.65_Fig1

Several factors may contribute to the recent rise in labor force participation for the population 65 and older. One likely factor is the shift from defined-benefit pension plans (based on years of service with guaranteed payments in retirement) to defined-contribution retirement plans (based on employee and employer contributions and dependent on investment returns). Another potential reason is the rise in the Social Security full retirement age, which reaches age 67 for those born in 1960 and later. A third influence could be the increased life expectancy and improved health of the older population.

The upward trend persisted through the 2007-2009 recession. While the recent recession forced some workers to retire sooner than planned, it also pushed workers to delay retirement. Many older workers managed to stay employed during the recession.  In fact, the older population was the only age group not to see a percentage decline in employment from 2005 to 2010.

Many older workers choose to transition from full-time employment to part-time employment before full retirement. For workers 70 and older, nearly half of employed men and the majority of employed women were working part time as opposed to full time (see Figure 2).65_Fig2

For more information about the older population, please see
An Aging Nation: The Older Population in the United States and The Baby Boom Cohort in the United States: 2012 to 2060.


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Nation to Become a Plurality, but Some Areas Already Are

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Written by: Jason E. Devine and Jennifer M. Ortman

When people discuss our nation’s increasing diversity, they often think about the point at which the non-Hispanic White alone population will comprise less than 50 percent of the nation’s total population. This transition has been described as the point at which we become a “majority-minority” nation. Here, minority is defined as any group other than non-Hispanic White alone. At this point, the non-Hispanic White alone population remains the largest single group, but no group is in the majority and the United States would become a “plurality” of racial and ethnic groups.

While the nation is projected to become both a “majority-minority” and a “plurality” nation by 2043, some states and many counties have already crossed these thresholds. California, Hawaii, New Mexico, Texas, and the District of Columbia have populations that are already “majority-minority.” Nearly one-third of Americans already live in a “majority-minority” county. According to new Census Bureau estimates released today, this was the case in 355 (11 percent) of the nation’s 3,143 counties in 2013.

The term “plurality” considers the diversity of the aggregate minority population. The populations in the “majority-minority” states are also considered “pluralities,” because no race (alone) or ethnic group has greater than a 50 percent share of the state’s population.

In 2013, of the 355 counties where the combined minority populations make up more than 50 percent of the population, 143 counties are “pluralities,” where no race or ethnic group has greater than a 50 percent share of their county’s total population. In the remaining 212 counties, a race or ethnic group other than non-Hispanic White alone (e.g., Hispanic, non-Hispanic Black alone, non-Hispanic Asian alone, etc.) makes up greater than 50 percent of the county’s total population.

The figure below shows examples for the race and Hispanic origin distribution of 10 “plurality” counties (of those with populations greater than 25,000 in 2013), where no one group accounts for more than 40 percent of the total population. Three of these counties are in Hawaii, two each are in New York and California, and the remaining three counties are in North Carolina, New Mexico and Texas.

Selected Plurality Counties: July 1, 2013

To explore more information on the latest demographic characteristics of the nation, states, and counties, please visit: http://www.census.gov/popest/

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Why Do We Move? Did the Reasons Change Over Time?

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Written by: David Ihrke

Between 2012 and 2013, 35.9 million people age 1 and over moved in the United States. Each person moved for a specific reason or set of reasons, whether it was to establish their own household, attend or leave college, or for a change of climate. If we compare back to 1999, we can see how the main reason for moving given has changed over time.

A new U.S. Census Bureau report — “Reason for Moving: 2012 to 2013,” based on data primarily from the 2013 Annual Social and Economic Supplement of the Current Population Survey — sheds light on the reasons why people moved during the previous year. Respondents have 19 possible choices, including the option to write in a response. A comparable version of this question has been asked on the survey since 1999.

It is interesting to note how estimates for these responses have changed since 1999. For example, “to establish own household” was selected less as a reason for moving in 1999 than in 2013 (7.7 percent compared with 10.5 percent). This indicates that establishing a household was either a more important or more common reason for moving in 2013 than it was in 1999.

Some reasons did not significantly change during this period, such as moving because of a “new job or job transfer.” In 1999, it accounted for 9.5 percent of the reasons for moving. In 2013, it was 9.0 percent.

Another way to review results from the reason for move data is to collapse the 19 individual reasons into four categories: family-related, job-related, housing-related and other. This allows you to follow fluctuations over time more efigure1_rbasily.

Figure 1 contains the four collapsed categories from 1999 through 2013. As you can see, there is some variation within the categories by year but none of them intersect. This means that the order of the collapsed reason for move categories has not changed over time. One other important aspect of this figure is the recent and sudden decrease in the collapsed “other” category. While the exact reason for this decline is unknown, it is apparent that it was not simply a shift from one collapsed category to another. On the contrary, the family-related and housing-related categories have increased from this shift. The apparent change in the job-related category was not statistically significant.


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