Demographics of Philosophy Doctorates in the US

Eric Schwitzgebel has a very useful post up.  Here are some of the main findings:


In the 1970s, 17% of the SED philosophy respondents were women. In the 1980s it was 22%. In the 1990s it was 27%. In the 2000s it was also 27%. So far in the 2010s it has been 28%.



Also notable is the increase from 1-2% Hispanic or Latino in the 1970s-1980s to 6.3% in the 2010s. This is still, however, well below the approximately 17% of the U.S. population that is Hispanic. It is also matched by a sharp decline in “Ethnicity not reported”, raising the possibility that it is in part a reporting effect.

The percentage of non-Hispanic Black or African American U.S. PhD recipients does not appear to have increased much if at all since the 1970s, hovering around 1.4% to 2.2%, compared to 13% of the U.S. population.

2 thoughts on “Demographics of Philosophy Doctorates in the US

  1. This is discouraging. Does anyone know if the percentage of women graduating with a philosophy major is also unchanged? It would be good to know where to put our best efforts.

  2. The cross-tabs might be important. Have they been reported? The stall in gains among women appear to correlate closely with the increase in gains among non-whites (both phenomena took off in the early 1990s). As I guess some people know, I’ve long kicked around the hypothesis that the gender gap in philosophy is due in large part to the under-representation of non-white women in the field. That hypothesis is certainly very consistent with what I’m seeing here. The next step in fleshing out that hypothesis would be to posit that the gender gap is larger among non-white philosophers than it is among white philosophers. The cross-tabs would help confirm or deny this.

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