Statistics from the National Science Foundation

The latest edition of 'Science and Engineering Indicators' from the National Science Board contains interesting information about our industries.


The National Science Board, the governing board of the NSF, publishes Science and Engineering Indicators, that provides statistical information and analysis. The latest edition was released in January for 2012, with some interesting information about our industries. Here are some key excerpts that provide additional food for thought as companies deal with demographic changes and individuals consider possible career paths:

The S+E workforce has shown sustained growth for more than 50 years.

  • The number of workers in S+E occupations grew from about 182,000 in 1950 to 5.4 million in 2009. This represents an average annual growth rate of 5.9%, much greater than the 1.2% growth rate for the total workforce older than age 18 during this period.

  • Workforce growth in S+E occupations from 2000 to 2009 was slower than in the two preceding decades. Nonetheless, at 1.4% annually, it exceeded the rate (0.2%) for the general workforce, which barely grew at all.

The baby boom portion of the S+E workforce continues to age.

  • From 1993 to 2008, the median age of scientists and engineers in the U.S. workforce rose from 37 to 41. The proportion over age 50 increased from 18% to 27%.

  • Between 1993 and 2008, increasing percentages of scientists and engineers in their 60s reported that they were still in the labor force. Whereas 59% of S+E degree holders between the ages of 60 and 64 were employed in 1993, the comparable percentage rose to 66% in 2006 before declining slightly in 2008.

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