Stat Insights: Asian/Pacific Americans in Science and Engineering

Bachelor's degrees in S&E earned by Native Hawaiians or Other Pacific Islanders, by sex and field

Bachelor's degrees in S&E earned by Native Hawaiians or Other Pacific Islanders, by sex and field


May 29, 2019

The National Science Foundation's National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES) celebrates Asian/Pacific American Heritage month with some insightful statistics about the contributions of Asian, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islanders in science and engineering (S&E).

While Asian citizens and permanent residents, ages 18 to 64, comprise only 4.9% of the U.S. population and 6.1% of the labor force, they are well-represented in higher education, particularly in S&E.  For instance, in 2016, Asians earned 6.9% of all bachelor’s degrees, and 9.9% of all S&E bachelor’s degrees. They received 7% of all doctoral degrees and 9.1% of doctoral degrees in S&E.  This strong academic showing is reflected in the workforce. In 2017, Asian citizens and permanent residents constituted 13% of the S&E workforce.  Moreover, Asian scientists and engineers tended to earn about $10,000 more than the median salary for all scientists and engineers.

Although the population of Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders is far below that of Asians — 0.2% compared to 4.9% — Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders are proportionally represented in higher education, in general, and in S&E, in particular. In 2016, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders earned 0.3% of all bachelor’s degrees, with 0.2% of those in science and engineering. In the workforce, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders comprised 0.2% of scientists and engineers.  Like their Asian counterparts, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders typically earn a higher salary of about $5,000 above the median for all scientists and engineers.

See a broad range of statistics about Asian, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islanders in science and engineering in NCSES’s special report, Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2019, its budget is $8.1 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 50,000 competitive proposals for funding and makes about 12,000 new funding awards.

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