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In recent years, increasing attention has been paid to the economic value of college degrees. The following indicators examine the rate of unemployment among humanities majors and how it compares to the levels for majors in other broad academic fields. Humanities majors are somewhat more likely than college graduates in general to be unemployed, though humanities majors who go on to earn an advanced degree had a somewhat lower level of unemployment than those with a terminal bachelor’s degree.

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* People are classified as unemployed if they do not have a job, have actively looked for work in the previous four weeks, and are currently available for work. For an inventory of the particular degree programs included under each of the broad academic fields to which the graph refers, see the ACS-HI Crosswalk.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2018 American Community Survey Public-Use Microdata Sample. Data analyzed and presented by the American Academy of Arts Sciences’ Humanities Indicators (www.humanitiesindicators.org).

The information presented here on unemployment among degree holders in the humanities and other major academic fields is based on an original analysis by the Humanities Indicators of data from the American Community Survey (ACS), which has been administered by the U.S. Census Bureau since 2005. The ACS replaced the “long form” version of the decennial census and collects information—used to allocate billions in state and federal funding—about Americans’ personal characteristics, family composition, employment, income, and housing.

The ACS-based unemployment estimates presented here diverge from the better-known monthly unemployment figures based on the Current Population Survey (which is jointly sponsored by the Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics [BLS]) because of differences between the two surveys in content, population sample, and data collection method. (For additional information, see the BLS’ “American Community Survey Questions and Answers” at http://www.bls.gov/lau/acsqa.htm).

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* People are classified as unemployed if they do not have a job, have actively looked for work in the previous four weeks, and are currently available for work. For an inventory of the particular degree programs included under each of the broad academic fields to which the graph refers, see the ACS-HI Crosswalk.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2018 American Community Survey Public-Use Microdata Sample. Data analyzed and presented by the American Academy of Arts Sciences’ Humanities Indicators (www.humanitiesindicators.org).

The information presented here on unemployment among degree holders in the humanities and other major academic fields is based on an original analysis by the Humanities Indicators of data from the American Community Survey (ACS), which has been administered by the U.S. Census Bureau since 2005. The ACS replaced the “long form” version of the decennial census and collects information—used to allocate billions in state and federal funding—about Americans’ personal characteristics, family composition, employment, income, and housing.

The ACS-based unemployment estimates presented here diverge from the better-known monthly unemployment figures based on the Current Population Survey (which is jointly sponsored by the Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics [BLS]) because of differences between the two surveys in content, population sample, and data collection method. (For additional information, see the BLS’ “American Community Survey Questions and Answers” at http://www.bls.gov/lau/acsqa.htm).

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* People are classified as unemployed if they do not have a job, have actively looked for work in the previous four weeks, and are currently available for work. For an inventory of the particular degree programs included under each of the broad academic fields to which the graph refers, see the ACS-HI Crosswalk.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2018 American Community Survey Public-Use Microdata Sample. Data analyzed and presented by the American Academy of Arts Sciences’ Humanities Indicators (www.humanitiesindicators.org).

The information presented here on unemployment among degree holders in the humanities and other major academic fields is based on an original analysis by the Humanities Indicators of data from the American Community Survey (ACS), which has been administered by the U.S. Census Bureau since 2005. The ACS replaced the “long form” version of the decennial census and collects information—used to allocate billions in state and federal funding—about Americans’ personal characteristics, family composition, employment, income, and housing.

The ACS-based unemployment estimates presented here diverge from the better-known monthly unemployment figures based on the Current Population Survey (which is jointly sponsored by the Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics [BLS]) because of differences between the two surveys in content, population sample, and data collection method. (For additional information, see the BLS’ “American Community Survey Questions and Answers” at http://www.bls.gov/lau/acsqa.htm).

The ACS does not ask respondents about their amount of work experience. The Humanities Indicators thus 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 Humanities Indicators to examine the effect of this experience on unemployment and earnings.

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* People are classified as unemployed if they do not have a job, have actively looked for work in the previous four weeks, and are currently available for work. For an inventory of the particular degree programs included under each of the broad academic fields to which the graph refers, see the ACS-HI Crosswalk.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2018 American Community Survey Public-Use Microdata Sample. Data analyzed and presented by the American Academy of Arts Sciences’ Humanities Indicators (www.humanitiesindicators.org).

The information presented here on unemployment among degree holders in the humanities and other major academic fields is based on an original analysis by the Humanities Indicators of data from the American Community Survey (ACS), which has been administered by the U.S. Census Bureau since 2005. The ACS replaced the “long form” version of the decennial census and collects information—used to allocate billions in state and federal funding—about Americans’ personal characteristics, family composition, employment, income, and housing.

The ACS-based unemployment estimates presented here diverge from the better-known monthly unemployment figures based on the Current Population Survey (which is jointly sponsored by the Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics [BLS]) because of differences between the two surveys in content, population sample, and data collection method. (For additional information, see the BLS’ “American Community Survey Questions and Answers” at http://www.bls.gov/lau/acsqa.htm).

The ACS does not ask respondents about their amount of work experience. The Humanities Indicators thus 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 Humanities Indicators to examine the effect of this experience on unemployment and earnings.

Copy link

* People are classified as unemployed if they do not have a job, have actively looked for work in the previous four weeks, and are currently available for work. For an inventory of the particular degree programs included under each of the broad academic fields to which the graph refers, see the ACS-HI Crosswalk.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2018 American Community Survey Public-Use Microdata Sample. Data analyzed and presented by the American Academy of Arts Sciences’ Humanities Indicators (www.humanitiesindicators.org).

The information presented here on unemployment among degree holders in the humanities and other major academic fields is based on an original analysis by the Humanities Indicators of data from the American Community Survey (ACS), which has been administered by the U.S. Census Bureau since 2005. The ACS replaced the “long form” version of the decennial census and collects information—used to allocate billions in state and federal funding—about Americans’ personal characteristics, family composition, employment, income, and housing.

The ACS-based unemployment estimates presented here diverge from the better-known monthly unemployment figures based on the Current Population Survey (which is jointly sponsored by the Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics [BLS]) because of differences between the two surveys in content, population sample, and data collection method. (For additional information, see the BLS’ “American Community Survey Questions and Answers” at http://www.bls.gov/lau/acsqa.htm).

The ACS does not ask respondents about their amount of work experience. The Humanities Indicators thus 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 Humanities Indicators to examine the effect of this experience on unemployment and earnings.

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