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Higher Education and the ACS

In 2009, the American Community Survey collected information on bachelor’s degrees for the first time, including the specific major of each degree attained.

The estimated number of people in the United States over age 25 with a bachelor’s degree or higher was 56.3 million in 2009. Of this group, 20.5 million, or 36.4 percent, held at least one science and engineering degree.

The map below displays the variation in science and engineering degrees by state for 2009.

The percentage of residents with bachelor’s degrees in the science and engineering fields ranged from 26 percent to as high as 51 in the District of Columbia.

The District of Columbia and the five states of California, Maryland, Massachusetts, Virginia, and Washington had a percentage of science and engineering degrees above 40 percent. Nine additional states were also above the national average of 36.4 percent: Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, and Vermont.

The U.S Census Bureau is pleased to announce the release of twelve more reports from the American Community Survey (ACS) Brief series for 2009. These short reports cover a wide range of topics including public transportation usage, population with Haitian ancestry in the United States, rental housing market conditions, and science and engineering degrees. An initial set of seven reports was released on Sept. 28, 2010.

What is the American Community Survey?

The American Community Survey (ACS) is a nationwide survey designed to provide communities with reliable and timely demographic, social, economic, and housing data for the nation, states, congressional districts, counties, places, and other localities every year. It has an annual sample size of about 3 million addresses across the United States and Puerto Rico and includes both housing units and group quarters (e.g., nursing facilities and prisons). The ACS is conducted in every county throughout the nation, and every municipio in Puerto Rico, where it is called the Puerto Rico Community Survey.

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