Monday, July 11, 2022

How many US-born PhD physical scientists have parents with graduate degrees?

Our analysis of the SED data shows that economics is even more unrepresentative by socioeconomic background than the average PhD field. Among US-born PhD recipients over 2010–18, 65 percent of economics PhD recipients had at least one parent with a graduate degree, compared with 50 percent across all PhD fields (and 29 percent for the population of US-born BA recipients over the same period). At the other end of the spectrum, only 14 percent of US-born economics PhD recipients in 2010–18 were first-generation college graduates, compared with 26 percent across all PhD fields (and 44 percent among all US-born BA recipients). This makes economics the least socioeconomically diverse of any major field for US-born PhD recipients. 

I think it's interesting to see that PhD physical scientists* born in the US (and not born in the US!) are in the middle of the pack for parents with a graduate degree. Not sure what I would have believed before I saw the data, but it's not a surprise to see It would be really interesting to understand how many PhD chemists had PhD chemists as parents... 

*most likely includes chemistry (the largest category), geosciences, atmospheric sciences, and ocean sciences, physics and astronomy


  1. Quote from my former coworker: If my kids ask for a chemistry set, they're getting an MBA set or a lawyer set instead!

  2. My dad has a PhD. And oddly though we went into slightly different subspecialties, we both did/do electrochemistry as part of our Thesis work. His was just in organic reactions and mine was surface based semiconductor work.

  3. my parents both have phds (albeit in linguistics) and they were quite stubborn on me getting adv degrees too. it's quite natural that they correlate their lives success with their advanced degrees, but im not optimistic on what my chem phd gave me...


looks like Blogger doesn't work with anonymous comments from Chrome browsers at the moment - works in Microsoft Edge, or from Chrome with a Blogger account - sorry! CJ 3/21/20