If you have an ACS member number, please enter it here so we can link this account to your membership. (optional)

ACS values your privacy. By submitting your information, you are gaining access to C&EN and subscribing to our weekly newsletter. We use the information you provide to make your reading experience better, and we will never sell your data to third party members.



Black and Hispanic employees are underrepresented in US science, technology, engineering, and mathematics

Pew report shows Black, and Hispanic STEM employees also make lower salaries than their White or Asian counterparts

by Andrea Widener
April 9, 2021 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 99, Issue 13


Black and Hispanic people are underrepresented in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) careers in the US, and that is unlikely to change if current trends continue, according to a new report on diversity in science from the Pew Research Center.

In an analysis of federal data, the Pew report shows that Hispanic people are the most underrepresented in STEM fields, making up just 8% of the STEM workforce but 17% of all US workers. Black employees hold 9% of STEM jobs yet represent 11% of all workers. Black workers are especially underrepresented in engineering, physical sciences, and life sciences, where they hold less than 6% of the jobs. Asian and White scientists are overrepresented in STEM jobs in relation to their percentages of the population, the analysis finds.

The report also looked at the proportion of women in STEM careers. In physical sciences, the percentage of women rose from 22% in 1990 to 40% in 2019. However, women hold just 15% of engineering jobs, up only slightly from 12% in 1990. And women’s share of computer jobs fell from 32% in 1990 to 25% in 2019.

The lack of representation in science fields is a problem because the STEM workforce is expected to grow faster than the rest of the US economy, especially in math, computer, and health care fields, the study says. Those jobs also pay more: STEM jobs have a median salary of $77,400, compared with $46,900 for non-STEM positions.

But the salaries are not equal. Women in STEM earn 74% of the median salary of men in these fields. Black STEM workers make 78% and Hispanic STEM workers 83% of the median salary of White STEM employees.



This article has been sent to the following recipient:

Chemistry matters. Join us to get the news you need.