Subjects for discussion

A pair of scientists in a lab

You know science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) are important to the nation’s future, but do you understand why? To help you learn more about the subjects of the new STEM Education stamps, here are five facts from the Pew Research Center.

1. The STEM workforce is growing. As of 2016, 17.3 million workers ages 25 and older were employed in STEM occupations, comprising 13 percent of the total U.S. workforce. Since 1990, STEM employment has grown 79 percent, more than twice the rate of overall employment growth.

2. STEM workers tend to earn more than others. Among those with some college education, the typical full-time, year-round STEM worker earns $54,745, while a similarly educated non-STEM worker earns 26 percent less.

3. Many people believe STEM subjects are hard. When Americans are asked why more students don’t pursue a degree in science, technology, engineering or math, 52 percent say the main reason is because these subjects are too difficult.

4. The share of women in STEM jobs varies widely. Women are underrepresented in some STEM job clusters, but in others they match or exceed their share in the U.S. workforce overall. For example, women comprise three-quarters of health care practitioners and technicians, but they hold just 14 percent of the nation’s engineering jobs.

5. African-Americans and Hispanics are underrepresented in STEM jobs. Blacks and Hispanics comprise about one-quarter of the overall U.S. workforce as of 2016, but together they accounted for only 16 percent of those employed in STEM occupations. Most people with a STEM job say a major reason for this underrepresentation is because African-Americans and Hispanics are less likely to have access to quality education that prepares them for these fields.

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