Friday, January 09, 2009

Statistics on the Profession: A First Look at Race

I've been asked several times to extend the figures I collected on women in philosophy to include race. I've been reluctant to do so. The reason is purely practical. I use government figures and I analyze them at the most superficial level. To get the statistics, I just go to the table and divide a couple of numbers. But the figures on race are collected in a different way and so I think that calculating them does not provide an accurate picture of our discipline.

The figures on sex (from the Digest of Education Statistics) can be broken down to include only degrees in philosophy. However, the figures on race bundle philosophy with religious studies. Are there more or fewer racial minorities in philosophy than in religious studies? Are the profiles of the two fields the same? We can't assume they are. For example, at the undergraduate level, religious studies is evenly split between men and women, but philosophy graduates about twice as many men as women.

Here are the 2006 figures for bachelor's degrees in philosophy AND religious studies, bundled together:
White: 81.8%
Black: 5.7%
Hispanic: 5.4%
Asian and Pacific Islander: 5.2%
Native American: 0.5%
Non-resident alien: 1.3%

2006 figures for doctoral degrees in philosophy & religious studies, bundled together:
White: 70.9%
Black: 7.1%
Hispanic: 3.6%
Asian and Pacific Islander: 4.2%
Native American: 0.5%
Non-resident alien: 13.7%

These figures are additionally broken down by sex, and I thought it would be interesting to see whether the percentage of minorities is the same for men and women. But the numbers of individuals are so low that it's difficult to make comparisons.
% of male PhD's who are white: 70.7%
% of female PhD's who are white: 71.5%
% of male PhD's who are black: 6% (25 out of 420)
% of female PhD's who are black: 10% (16 out of 158)

But keep in mind: out of the 158 women in that last statistic, only 95 received philosophy degrees. I don't know of any way, using this published set of figures, to tease out the data on race for philosophy alone.

Women in Philosophy: Update

Just over a year ago I posted a series of statistics on women in philosophy. A new set of statistics has been released by the National Center for Education Statistics, to include graduation rates for 2006.

Bachelor's Degrees:
Since 1994, there has not been a significant change in the percentage of philosophy undergraduate degrees awarded to women. In 2002 it reached a high of 33.0%. Two years later it was at its lowest, at 29.2%. Last year the percentage of bachelor's degrees which went to women was 30.8%, right in line with past rates.

Master's Degrees:
26.6% of the master's degrees in philosophy went to women. I don't keep track of gender distribution among master's degrees, since not all graduate students pursue a terminal master's.

The percentage of doctorates in philosophy earned by women has been about 27% since at least 1991. In 2006 (the most recent data), it is 27.1%.

Look at the bright side: women aren't falling out of the ranks of students.

Clean Air, Clean Water, Good Music

Here's a blog that discusses music and environmental concerns: Check out the comparison of thrash metal bands' environmental awareness!

A post on Grist by Bill McKibben about environmental music.

A list of environmental songs

The Singing Climatologist

Captain Sea Level

Thanks to Richard Wallace, Ursinus College Environmental Studies program, for these links! A student in my Intro to Ethics course passes along this humorous video by Tim Minchin: