Humanities Indicators
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Workforce  >  Earnings & Occupations of Humanities Majors
 
Effects of Gender on the Earnings of Humanities Majors
(Updated November 2015)

This indicator focuses on the effect of gender on the earnings of college graduates who majored in the humanities, revealing that the gender pay gap that characterizes the U.S. workforce as a whole is also found among humanities majors and is more pronounced for older workers.[1]

Findings and Trends

  • In 2013, the median income for male humanities terminal bachelor’s degree holders (TBHs) who worked full-time was $42,000 among those ages 24–34—$2,000 (5%) more than the median for their female counterparts (Indicator III-4j).[2] The gender gap in median earnings was considerably wider among older TBHs (ages 35–54). Men made $17,000 (almost 33%) more than women in this category.
  • Among humanities majors who earned an advanced degree, the gap in median earnings between men and women was $5,000 (men made 10% more) among those early in their careers (Indicator III-4k).[3] Among older workers, the gap was substantially larger: men’s median earnings were $18,000 (25%) higher than those of women.
  • The earnings gap between male and female humanities majors with advanced degrees was more pronounced among the highest wage earners in this category than for workers earning closer to the median, particularly in the case of later-career workers. One in four older male humanities majors with advanced degrees earned more than $146,000 in 2013, while the upper quartile for women was $101,000.
III-4j: Median Annual Earnings of Full-Time Workers with a Terminal Bachelor’s Degree in the Humanities, by Gender and Age, 2013*

* Full-time workers are those who worked 35 or more hours per week for 50 or more weeks in the previous 12 months.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2013 American Community Survey Public-Use Microdata Sample.

About this DataRelated Indicators
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III-4k: Median Annual Earnings of Full-Time Workers with a Bachelor’s Degree in the Humanities and an Advanced Degree in Any Field, by Gender and Age, 2013*

* Full-time workers are those who worked 35 or more hours per week for 50 or more weeks in the previous 12 months.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2013 American Community Survey Public-Use Microdata Sample.

About this DataRelated Indicators
../cmsData/xls/III-4k.xlsx../cmsData/ppt/III-4k.ppt../cmsData/pdf/III-4k.pdf

Endnotes

[1] The American Community Survey, which yields the data on which these indicators are based, does not ask respondents about their amount of work experience. Thus the Humanities Indicators (HI) uses age to distinguish between workers who are in the first years of their career and those who are more experienced. Age and work experience are not perfectly correlated, but age does provide an approximate measure of work experience that allows the HI to examine the effect of this experience on unemployment and earnings of humanities majors.
[2] All earnings estimates are for the 12 months preceding response to the ACS and have been rounded to the nearest $1,000.

The range of “typical” or “usual” values exhibited by a population of persons or objects is described through the use of a statistic referred to as the “interquartile range,” which ignores the most extreme values of a sample distribution. Quartiles are statistics that divide the observations of a numeric sample into four groups, each of which contains 25% of the data. The lower, middle, and upper quartiles are computed by ordering the values for a particular variable (earnings, in this case) from smallest to largest and then finding the values below which fall 25%, 50%, and 75% of the data. The middle quartile is also known as the median. The lower quartile and the upper quartile define the interquartile range.

[3] In 2013, 42% of humanities majors possessed at least one advanced degree (see Supplemental Table 4).