In the News
November 1, 2023

Debunking Perceptions About Value of Humanities Degrees

Kathryn Palmer
Inside Higher Ed

An American Academy of Arts and Sciences report found humanities majors in all but four states had median incomes at least 40 percent higher than workers with only a high school degree.

Despite growing skepticism about the value of humanities degrees, college graduates who majored in a humanities field outearn people with no degree in every state, a new report has found.

The American Academy of Arts and Sciences drew on five years of data, from 2017 to 2021, from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey to compile data for all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The organization has previously published reports that examine the intersection of the humanities and the workforce on a national scale, which show lower unemployment rates for graduates with a bachelor’s degrees in humanities compared to people who completed high school but didn’t attend college.

“I had a bunch of faculty members and administrators say they needed to talk to their legislatures and explain that their humanities majors were doing as well as the national data suggests,” said Robert Townsend, the academy’s director of humanities, arts and culture programs. “Their specific experiences don’t seem to be that different from state to state, but it’s clearly useful for them in thinking about their own local needs.”

View full story: Inside Higher Ed



Humanities Indicators

Norman Marshall Bradburn and Robert B. Townsend