People in STEM love numbers. After all, STEM is an acronym that stands for “Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.” STEM covers a wide variety of careers - any job related to science, technology, engineering, or math is under the STEM umbrella, everything from app developers to zoologists. Let’s look at some STEM stats for 2023. Then you can learn all STEM in the best online STEM classes for kids.
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Discover 20 interesting STEM stats
Numbers can tell a story, and the story the STEM statistics tell is exciting! There will always be a high demand for STEM workers: computers and high-tech aren’t going away anytime soon, diseases and patients still need to be cured, nature and outer space still need to be explored, and buildings and machines will need to be built. Let’s learn about the people that fuel this excitement!
STEM workforce statistics
Millions of people across the US work in STEM. While the stereotype tech worker is a young person in Silicon Valley, the statistics tell a different story.
1. Millions of people work in STEM
As of 2020, 10.2 million people work in STEM across the US. If all STEM workers in America lived in one metropolitan area it would be the 3rd largest metropolitan area between Los Angeles and Chicago. (source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Statista)
2. But also STEM is a small family
Although 10.2 million STEM workers nationwide seems like a lot, this only represents 6.6% of all jobs in the US. (source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics)
3. STEM cities are all over the US
Not all STEM jobs are in Silicon Valley! According to 2019 data, Lexington Park, Maryland, home to 11,000 people and a 70 mile drive southeast of Washington, DC, is at top spot with 24.8% of its workers in STEM jobs thanks to the large presence of military engineers. While the San Jose metropolitan area, home to “Silicon Valley”, ranks as the metro area with the second highest percentage of workers in STEM at 20.1%, the rest of the top five is all over the country: in third is Huntsville, Alabama (15.7% in STEM), fourth is Boulder, Colorado (15.7% in STEM), and fifth is the Durham-Chapel Hill metro area (12.3% STEM) (source: Forbes)
4. STEM workers are surprisingly older!
Surprisingly, according to 2018 data from the National Science Foundation, the median age of STEM workers is 40 years old. This is still younger than 44 years old, the average age of a non-STEM worker. In addition, according to a study from the Ohio State University, the average age of STEM workers is increasing. (source: National Science Foundation, Science Daily)
5. STEM workers are well paid
While the yearly salary in the United States is $41,950, the average annual wage for STEM workers is more than double at $89,780! Out of the 20 highest paying job titles in the United States, 18 are STEM jobs with most of the job titles being different types of doctors. (source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Bureau of Labor Statistics)
STEM job growth statistics
Technology is taking over and it is not slowing down. Scientific mysteries will still be out there to solve. Patients will still need to be taken care of. There will always be a high demand for people in STEM, let’s understand how much so.
6. STEM will continue to grow fast
In general, STEM jobs are expected to grow 10.5% between 2020 and 2030 compared to 7.5% growth for non-STEM jobs. This equates to 1 million more job openings over 10 years! (source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics)
7. Top 3 STEM sectors with most growth
When people think of hot STEM jobs, they think of computer related jobs. Surprisingly, though, the hottest STEM jobs were healthcare related with 25.9% growth between 2010 and 2020. Technology jobs still had an impressive 23.1% growth percentage between the same time period, followed by biological / environmental related jobs at 20.1% growth over the decade. (source: National Science Foundation)
8. COVID-19 strengthened STEM job outlook
During the COVID-19 pandemic, we relied on technology more than ever. Because of this, the COVID-19 pandemic has made the demand for STEM jobs even more strong. Out of 20 sectors, 18 sectors saw a more gloomy job outlook due to the pandemic. Only two sectors, information and scientific / technical services, saw a better job outlook because of COVID-19, and both sectors are in STEM. (source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics)
9. Growing STEM cities are everywhere
It doesn’t matter where you are in the US to take advantage of the hot STEM job market. According to data from RCLCO Real Estate firm, the five hottest cities for STEM jobs are Charlotte, NC, Austin, TX, Denver, CO, Seattle, WA, and Raleigh, NC. The cities were ranked based on job growth momentum and migration patterns. (source: RCLCO Real Estate)
10. STEM jobs will be the newest jobs
Imagine back in 2010 job titles such as Big Data engineer and Machine Learning biologist did not exist. Now let’s imagine the job titles in 2030! According to a study by Dell, leading STEM professionals believe that 85% of the jobs that will exist in 2030 have not been invented yet, and almost all these jobs will be in STEM. Imagine working as a nurse for robots in 2030! (source: Dell Technologies)
STEM education stats
With all this growth in STEM, we have to teach the next generation the skills needed to satisfy this expansion! Here’s some statistics about STEM education.
11. Early STEM education stats
Despite its importance, STEM is not emphasized in early education. Only 17% of K-3 classrooms study science “all or most days of the week.” This number increases to 35% for grades 4-6, but this number is still low. Only 26% of elementary schools and 38% of middle schools offer computer science classes. (source: National Survey of Science and Math Education)
12. Coding is as important as any subject
Imagine a future where coding is prioritized in schools. According to a 2016 Google report, 84% of parents, 71% of teachers, and 66% of principals believed that computer science was as important as any other subject. To go further, 60% of teachers, 62% of principals, and 56% of school superintendents believe computer science courses should be required courses if they are available. (source: Google study)
13. Computer science in schools
Nationwide, 47% of public high schools offer at least one computer science course. However, this varies widely from state to state, and the results are surprising. The states with the most access to computer science courses are Arkansas (89%), Rhode Island (86%), Maryland (83%), South Carolina (80%), and Nevada (77%). The states with the least access to computer science courses are Minnesota (19%), Louisiana (23%), Kansas (27%), Arizona (30%), and Alaska / New Mexico (both 32%). In California and Washington, the states most well known for their tech companies, the percentages are at 47% and 48% respectively, the same as the national average. (source: code.org)
14. Pay attention in your STEM classes!
Don’t fall asleep in math class because 31% of adults said they wish they paid more attention to math in high school! Similarly, 23% of adults said they wish they paid more attention to science class. Adults also find math to be the most useful subject in their daily lives - 19% of adults say math is the most useful subject they learned from school. (source: YouGov)
15. Most STEM workers have a college degree, but not everyone!
Some STEM jobs, such as doctors or research scientists, require many years of schooling. According to 2018 data from Pew Research Center, 29% of STEM workers have a master’s or doctoral degree. On the other end, there are many other STEM jobs that don’t require a college degree at all! Some medical technician work and IT jobs don’t require a college degree. According to the same Pew Research data, 35% of STEM workers have less than a bachelor’s degree, with 28% having an associate’s degree or some college and 7% with high school or below. In the middle, 36% of STEM workers have a 4 year bachelor’s degree. (source: Pew Research Center)
Diversity in STEM
The STEM fields have made a lot of progress in terms of diversity and inclusion but there are still ways to go. Here are five encouraging statistics about gender and racial diversity in STEM.
Women in STEM
16. Substantial progress made
Back in 1970, astonishingly only 8% of all STEM workers were women. Nowadays that has increased to 27% of all STEM workers. In some STEM sectors, such as life sciences and math, women represent 47% and 46% of all workers in that sector, equaling the percentage of all workers who are female at 47%. (source: US Census)
17. Importance of encouragement and role models
Improving STEM’s gender diversity is a team effort. Encouragement from role models can make all the difference. According to a study by Microsoft, girls who are encouraged by a parent to pursue computer science are 81% more likely to take computer science classes in high school. Even subtle representation can make all the difference. A clinical psychological study proved that girls who studied with textbooks with pictures of female scientists performed better than girls who studied with textbooks with only pictures of male scientists. (sources: Microsoft, NIH clinical trial database)
18. Women in STEM leadership
Speaking of role models, more women are taking up STEM role model positions, both in the classroom and in companies. The percentage of STEM female teachers has increased from 43% in 1988 to 64% in 2012. The percentage of women who hold the highest technical position at companies, the Chief Information Officer (CIO) or Chief Technology Officer (CTO), moved up from 16% in 2018 to 18% in 2019, with 25% of CIO/CTOs in the financial sector being women. (sources: EdWeek, KornFerry)
Minorities in STEM
19. STEM degrees at HBCUs
HBCUs, historically black colleges and universities, enroll 9% of all black college students nationwide. However, HBCUs graduate a larger proportion of black students in STEM fields. For example, 27.8% of all black students majoring in the physical sciences graduated from an HBCU, three times more than the expected 9%. The percentages are also disproportionately high for other STEM fields: 25.5% of all black mathematics students, 24.7% of all black biological sciences students, and 17.2% of all black engineering students graduated from an HBCU. (source: National Science Foundation)
20. Best cities for STEM diversity
Based on the size of the STEM workforce as well as its racial and gender diversity, the most diverse STEM city in the US is Oakland, CA, where it scores above average in all diversity metrics. Other diverse STEM cities include Boston, Philadelphia, Washington DC, and New York City. (source: SmartAsset)
Use your STEM stats knowledge
These numbers should paint a better picture of the STEM field. It’s an exciting field with lots of growth!
We hope your child can join in on the action. Get started with the best coding for kids classes today, and begin your STEM learning adventure.
Written by Brandon Lim, a Create & Learn instructor and curriculum developer. Brandon also works full-time as a software engineer and holds a BS in Computer Science from Johns Hopkins University. Brandon has experience teaching coding to students of all ages from elementary school to college and is excited to share his deep knowledge and relentless passion for coding with the next generation of technology leaders.