Humanities Indicators
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Racial/Ethnic Composition of Humanities Faculty

In the United States, most racial/ethnic minorities have traditionally been underrepresented (in proportion to their representation in the overall population) among humanities faculty, just as they have among faculty in every other academic field (individuals of Asian descent are the exception).

Findings and Trends

  • In 1988, less than 10% of all humanities faculty were nonwhite or Hispanic (Indicator III-12a). Over the next decade-and-a-half this proportion grew, and by 2004 it amounted to 16%. Growth was greatest for Asians and African Americans, with both groups experiencing an increase of approximately three percentage points over the period, bringing these groups’ representation in 2004 to 4.9% and 5.1% respectively. The proportion of Hispanic faculty also grew, but only through 1999; thereafter it dropped somewhat, so that in 2004 Hispanic representation was 5.1%, less than one percentage point higher than it had been in 1988.
  • In 2004, the percentage of minority faculty in the humanities was lower than it was in most other fields and in the postsecondary faculty population as a whole (Indicator III-12b). The highest minority representation was found in the natural sciences (close to 20%) and engineering (about 24%) due largely to the substantial numbers of faculty of Asian descent working in these fields. The other sciences—health and social—also outperformed the humanities with respect to the percentage of minority faculty, with approximately 18% of the faculty in each of these fields self-identifying as African American, Asian, American Indian/Alaska Native, or Hispanic. The only field with a substantially smaller share of minority faculty than the humanities was fine arts.
III-12a: Percentage of Postsecondary Humanities Faculty Who Are Members of Traditionally Underrepresented Racial/Ethnic Groups, 1988–2004
Source: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), National Study of Postsecondary Faculty; data accessed and analyzed via NCES’s online Data Analysis System at http://nces.ed.gov/das/.
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III-12b: Percentage of Postsecondary Faculty Who Are Members of Traditionally Underrepresented Racial/Ethnic Groups, by Primary Teaching Field, 2004
Source: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), National Study of Postsecondary Faculty; data accessed and analyzed via NCES’s online Data Analysis System at http://nces.ed.gov/das/.
About this DataRelated Indicators
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