May 24, 2011
There’s a new study out today: “What’s It Worth: The Economic Value of College Majors, authored by Anthony Carnevale, Jeff Strohl and Michelle Melton, all with the Georgetown University Center for Education and the Workforce.
The data source is a survey by the Census Bureau of over three million people in the workforce. According to IHE, “The salary figures complied for the report are what each person made in 2009, so they represent a mix of entry-level, mid-career, and late-career workers. Because the report is based on census data, it is a snapshot of graduates between 25 and 64 and does not take into account changes over time.” This is almost certainly the highest quality data we have ever had on the economic consequences of different choices of major.
According to Carnevale, the lead author, “It matters that you go to college and that you get a degree, but what you study matters up to four times as much. We shouldn’t dissuade people from studying what they are interested in, but if a student is going to go into the arts, they ought to know what the options are going to be.”