STEM Education Statistics

Decline in Education in America’s Elementary and Secondary Schools

  • 45 percent of 2011 U.S. high school graduates are ready for college-level math.
  • 30 percent of 2011 U.S. high school students are ready for college-level science.
  • Only 12 percent of black students and 17 percent of Hispanic students took Algebra I before high school in 2009. But, 48 percent of Asian students took Algebra I before high school in 2009.
  • In 2009, 34 percent of American fourth grade students, 30 percent of eighth grade students, and 21 percent of twelfth grade students performed at or above the proficient level in science.
  • 9 percent of Hispanic and 10 percent of black U.S. students took advanced Algebra or calculus in 2008, compared to 22 percent of white students and 43 percent of Asian students.
  • 27.6 percent of AP test takers in the class of 2011 earned a qualifying score on a STEM exam.
  • 27 percent of 2011 test takers took an AP science exam and 26 percent took an AP math exam.
  • 25 years ago, the U.S. led the world in high school and college graduation rates. Today, the U.S. has dropped to 20th and 16th.

Decline in Higher Education in America

  • Students who progress through at least Algebra II in high school are twice as likely as those who do not to complete a four-year degree.
  • 38 percent of students who start with a STEM major do not graduate with one.
  • In 2009, men age 25 and older held 87 percent of bachelor’s degrees in engineering fields.
  • In 2009, of the 56 million people age 25 and over with a bachelor’s degree, nearly 20 million of them held a degree in a science and engineering field.
  • STEM majors make more than non STEM majors. Petroleum engineering majors make about $120,000 a year, compared with $29,000 annually for counseling psychology majors.


  • In 2007, about a third of public middle school science teachers either did not major in the subject in college and/or are not certified to teach it.
  • 36 percent of public middle school math teachers in 2007 either did not major in the subject in college and/or are not certified to teach it.

International Comparisons

  • U.S. students recently finished 25th in math and 17th in science in the world compared to 31 other countries.
  • The prestigious World Economic Forum ranks the U.S. as No. 48 in quality of math and science education.
  • In 2008, 4 percent of U.S. bachelor’s degrees were awarded in engineering. Compared to 31 percent in China.
  • In 2008, 31 percent of U.S. bachelor’s degrees were awarded in science and engineering fields. Compared to 61 percent in Japan and 51 percent in China.


  • As of February 2012, more than half of the 30 fastest growing occupations require some level of post-secondary education.
  • “All of the increase in employment over the past two decades has been among workers who have taken at least some college classes or who have associate or bachelor’s degrees – and mostly among workers with bachelor’s degrees.”
  • In 2008, 59 percent of all jobs in the U.S. economy required post-secondary education. (Up from 28 percent in 1973.)
  • By 2018, it is projected that 63 percent of all jobs in the U.S. economy will require post-secondary education.
  • By 2018, 92 percent of traditional STEM jobs will be for those with at least some post-secondary education and training.
  • 23 percent of STEM workers are women, however women make up 48 percent of workers in all occupations.
  • In 2009, 12 percent of STEM workers were non-Hispanic black and Hispanic. But, non-Hispanic black and Hispanic individuals accounted for 25 percent of overall employment.
  • Jobs in computer systems design and related services, a field dependent on high-level math and problem-solving skills, are projected to grow 45 percent between 2008 and 2018.
  • The U.S. may be short as many as three million high-skills workers by 2018.

Research and Development

  • In 2009, U.S scientists fielded nearly 29 percent of research papers in the most influential journals compared to 40 percent in 1981. STEM Crisis is causing a reduction in research which leads to growth.
  • By 2009, for the first time, over half of U.S. patents were awarded to non-U.S. companies because STEM shortcomings are forcing a hold on innovation.

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