STEM workforce representation
In 2010, 31 percent of young adults ages 25-34 in the U.S. held a bachelor's or higher degree. Of those young adults, 29 percent held an undergraduate degree in a STEM field. Among young adults with a STEM degree, 56 percent were employed in a STEM occupation in 2010 (1). Women, Blacks, Hispanics, American Indians, and persons with disabilities are considered underrepresented in science and engineering because their representation among postsecondary degree recipients and employees in these areas is smaller than their share of the population (2).

Median earnings of young adults with STEM degrees
In 2010, median annual earnings of young adults ages 25-34 with a bachelor's or higher degree who worked full time were $50,300, compared to $58,200 for those with a bachelor's degree or higher in a STEM field. Median earnings for those with a STEM degree ranged from $44,300 for young adults with a bachelor's in agriculture/natural resources to $68,400 for those with a bachelor's in engineering/engineering technologies. While STEM graduates fared well overall, median earnings were higher for male and Asian STEM graduates than their peers (1).


1. Ross, T., Kena, G., Rathbun, A., KewalRamani, A., Zhang, J., Kristapovich, P., & Manning, E. (2012). Higher education: Gaps in access and persistence study (No. NCES 2012-046).  Retrieved from National Center for Education Statistics website:

2. National Science Foundation, Division of Science Resources Statistics. (2011). Women, minorities, and persons with disabilities in science and engineering: 2011 (Special Report NSF 11-309). Retrieved from