Expected Income By Major

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.

Good overviews of the study are provided by Inside Higher Education (“Major Decisions“) and The Chronicle of Higher Education (“What Are You Going to Do with That?“).

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.”


About Doug Bennett

Doug Bennett is Emeritus President and Professor of Politics at Earlham College. He has a wife, Ellen, and two sons, Tommy (born 1984) and Robbie (born 2003).
This entry was posted in Assessment, Learning, Money Matters. Bookmark the permalink.

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