In the News

Humanities Graduates Are Happy With Their Lives

Scott Jaschik
Inside Higher Ed

Articles suggesting that humanities graduates are poor or unhappy are abundant. But the opposite is true.

According to a 2019 Gallup poll cited in a new report by the Humanities Indicators Project of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, 90 percent of humanities graduates are happy with their lives, about the same as graduates of other fields.

The report attempts to look at various data to answer why.

“Data reveal that humanities graduates are similar to college graduates generally in whether they consider key aspects of work important. Humanities majors, however, were less likely than business or health/medical sciences graduates to consider salary ‘very important,’” the report says. “And humanities graduates were less likely than their counterparts in education or health/medical sciences to consider making a contribution to society very important, but they were substantially more likely than business majors to value it.”

One important consideration, the report says, is that humanities graduates work in a wide variety of fields, counter to “the stereotype of humanities majors as baristas.”

The report says, “Contrary to the stereotype, humanities graduates — even those without advanced degrees — are widely distributed across occupational categories, similar to college graduates generally and those from the science disciplines.” Humanities graduates work in management, in sales, in business and in technology, not just the expected categories of education or the arts.

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View full story: Inside Higher Ed



Humanities Indicators

Norman Marshall Bradburn and Robert B. Townsend