About this report

What is this report?

Diversity and STEM: Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities represents the federal government’s most comprehensive collection of data on diversity trends in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). The purpose of the report is to provide statistical information about three groups—women, minorities, and persons with disabilities—who have been historically underrepresented in STEM. As mandated by the Science and Engineering Equal Opportunities Act (Public Law 96-516), the National Science Foundation through the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES) publishes this report every 2 years to assess the current state of diversity in STEM employment and science and engineering (S&E) education. The analyses presented are relevant to policymakers, program managers, and researchers interested in the diversity and representation of women, minorities, and persons with disabilities in the U.S. S&E enterprise.

Where can I find previous editions of this report?

Previous editions of this report (formerly called Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering) and related data tables dating back to 1994 may be found by accessing the Prior Releases page. Copies of earlier reports are available upon request by e-mailing ncsesweb@nsf.gov.

How can I download the report and its data tables?

The report, data tables, and additional resources are available on the Downloads page.

How can I be notified when new data and analyses are released?

Sign up to receive e-mail notifications of new NCSES publications and data releases. Your e-mail will be used only for providing notifications.

About the data

What data sources are used in this report?

The report highlights key statistics drawn from several data sources, including the following:

How can I access the source data for this report?

NCSES public use data files are microdata files and documentation available for public use and do not contain any individually identifiable information. Public use data files relevant to this report are available for the NSCG, SDR, and GSS.

Under certain conditions, restricted use microdata files require a license agreement with NCSES. The datasets with restricted use files relevant to this report are the NSCG, SDR, and SED. For information on how to obtain a restricted use data license from NCSES, see the Restricted Use Data Licensing page.

NCSES also publishes a suite of data tools that allow users to access datasets and build their own tables. The datasets relevant to this report are the SED, GSS, NSCG, SDR, IPEDS Completions Survey, and IPEDS Enrollment Survey. See “Appendix: NCSES Table Builder” for an example of how to create a table using the table builder option.

Visit the Census Bureau’s website to access and download the CPS Annual Social and Economic Supplement microdata files.

About the populations covered

How is race and ethnicity defined in this report?

See the report sidebar Defining Race and Ethnicity.

What does underrepresented minorities mean?

Underrepresented minorities include individuals of races or ethnicities whose representation in STEM employment and S&E education is smaller than their representation in the U.S. population. This includes Blacks or African Americans, Hispanics or Latinos, and American Indians or Alaska Natives.

How does this report define “persons with disabilities”?

Does this report include information on sexual orientation and gender identity?

Diversity and STEM does not include information on sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) in STEM. NCSES does not currently collect data on these variables. However, NCSES is currently exploring the inclusion of SOGI questions on its education and workforce surveys. This exploration will shed light on the feasibility of collecting reliable data on sexual orientation and gender minorities educated or employed in S&E fields. The goal is to appropriately balance the agency’s mission and programmatic goals while ensuring data quality, reducing respondent burden, protecting confidentiality, and meeting data user needs. For a detailed discussion about these efforts, see NCSES’s Frequently Asked Questions on SOGI Efforts.

About STEM occupations and fields

How is the STEM workforce defined in this report?

This report uses the definition of the STEM labor force outlined in The STEM Labor Force of Today: Scientists, Engineers, and Skilled Technical Workers and Workforce Statistics (infographic). This new definition includes workers in S&E, S&E-related, and middle-skill occupations (see sidebar The STEM Workforce of the United States and the report “Glossary” for definitions).

What jobs are classified as “STEM occupations”?

See the Technical Notes page.

What is the difference between S&E and S&E-related occupations?

S&E occupations typically require a bachelor’s degree for entry and employ workers from five major categories: (1) computer and mathematical scientists; (2) biological, agricultural, and environmental life scientists; (3) physical scientists; (4) social scientists; and (5) engineers. S&E-related occupations require STEM skills and expertise, but workers in these occupations do not fall into the five main S&E categories. The main occupational categories and positions that make up this group include health care workers, S&E managers, S&E precollege teachers, and technologists and technicians.

What is the skilled technical workforce?

The skilled technical workforce includes workers in S&E, S&E-related, and middle-skill occupations who do not have a bachelor’s degree or higher.

What is the distinction between the skilled technical workforce and middle-skill occupations?

The skilled technical workforce includes workers in S&E, S&E-related, and middle-skill occupations who do not have a bachelor’s degree or higher. As a subset of STEM occupations, middle-skill occupations require high levels of STEM skills and expertise but do not typically require a bachelor’s degree for entry; however, workers with a bachelor’s degree or above may be employed in these occupations. These positions are primarily in the areas of construction trades, installation, maintenance, repair, and production.