Humanities Indicators
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Workforce  >  Employment in Humanistic Occupations and Settings
Humanities-Related Employment

Toward the end of the first decade of the 21st century, humanities-related employment amounted to approximately 3.86 million jobs, or 2.6% of all employment.[1] (For an explanation of the way in which the Humanities Indicators (HI) arrived at these estimates, see the Note on Humanities Employment Data.)

Findings and Trends

Humanities Research and Teaching
(1,371,870; 36% of total humanities-related employment)

  • 726,641 primary (elementary and middle school) and secondary teachers, representing 19% of all such faculty, taught humanities subjects and skills. Approximately 360,000 of these taught at the primary level exclusively, almost 320,000 taught high school exclusively, and the remainder served students at both levels. In addition, the nation’s public and private schools employed 181,810 kindergarten teachers (excluding special education specialists), and an estimated 181,810 teaching assistants supporting precollegiate humanities teachers (based on the assumption that each kindergarten teacher is supported by at least one assistant).[2]
  • The United States had 166,070 postsecondary humanities faculty. The number of graduate research and teaching assistants in the humanities can be estimated only imprecisely because available data cannot be parsed by academic discipline. The HI estimates that 19,539 graduate research and teaching assistants were employed in the humanities.
  • Adult literacy, GED, and remedial education teaching jobs are included here, given their role in developing students’ core humanities skills (Indicator III-1a).

Humanities Occupations
(794,708; 21% of total humanities-related employment)

Humanities occupations are jobs (beyond research and teaching) that require humanities knowledge and/or humanistic skills or that support key elements of the nation’s humanities infrastructure. Such occupations include:

  • Archivists: 6,300
  • Audiovisual Collections Specialists (including those who prepare, plan, and operate audiovisual teaching aids for use in education or who record, catalog, and file audiovisual materials in libraries and museums as well as a variety of other institutions and enterprises): 6,800
  • Authors and Writers (nontechnical; news analysts, correspondents, and reporters are tallied separately): 151,700 (includes self-employed)
  • Editors (text): 129,600 (includes self-employed)
  • Historians (nonfaculty): 4,100
  • Humanities Museum Curators: 4,212 (includes self-employed/freelancers)
  • Humanities Museum Technicians and Conservators: 3,996
  • Interpreters and Translators: 50,900
  • Librarians: 159,900
  • Library Technicians: 120,600
  • News Analysts, Correspondents, and Reporters: 69,300
  • Technical Writers: 48,900
  • Tour Guides and Escorts: 38,400

Humanities Institutions
(1,199,182; 31% of total humanities-related employment)

The jobs described here involve the technical, administrative, customer service, and maintenance functions essential to the operation of key types of humanities institutions, including:

  • Archives and Libraries: 129,700
  • Colleges and Universities: 311,741
  • Humanities Museums: 128,823
  • Primary and Secondary Schools: 628,918

Book, Newspaper, and Periodical Publishing[3]
(excluding Internet-only publishing) (489,603; 13% of total humanities-related employment)

III-1a: Humanities-Related Employment, 2007/2008/2009*

* For the majority of occupations and sectors, data are for 2008. Data for the publishing sector are for 2007. For a small number of occupations, 2009 data were used. At the time this indicator was prepared, these were the most current data available. Percentages do not add to 100% due to rounding.


Employment Data

U.S. Bureau of the Census, 2007 Economic Census, Data Set: Sector 51, EC0751A1; Geographic Area Series; Summary Statistics for the United States, States, Metro and Micro Areas, Metro Divisions, Consolidated Cities, Counties, and Places, 2007. Data accessed via American FactFinder.

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About this DataRelated Indicators


[1]  For the majority of occupations and sectors, data are for 2008. Data for the publishing sector are for 2007. For a small number of occupations, 2009 data were used. At the time this indicator was prepared, these were the most current data available. Total U.S. employment for 2008 was 150,931,700, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, National Employment Matrix.
[2] The HI treats kindergarten teachers as humanities teachers because the bulk of their time is spent laying the foundation for the development of children’s written and oral language skills.
[3] Employment for Internet publishing could not be estimated because existing data sources include under the heading of “Internet publishing” a variety of business types—Internet gaming, discount coupon publishing, and so on—that are not humanities-related. According to the 2007 Economic Census, employment by firms engaged in Internet-only publishing constituted only a small proportion, approximately 7%, of all (nonsoftware) publishing.