Reasons Why Hispanics are the Key to Diversifying STEM

The previous blog post discussed the benefits of pursuing a science, engineering, technology, and mathematics (STEM) degree for Hispanics. This blog post discusses why Hispanics are the best-suited group to diversify STEM in the United States.

Importance of Diversity in the STEM Workforce

STEM fields are the least diverse. According to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), the more diverse a team is, it will likely outperform a homogenous group. A team composed of people with different backgrounds has different experiences and perspectives to pull from. Because of this, they will approach problems differently than a homogeneous team. Therefore, the more diverse a team is, the greater the likelihood of scientific success, economic growth, and increased competitiveness.

Why are Hispanics the Best-Suited Population to Diversify STEM?

1. Hispanics are the Largest Minority Population and predicted to remain the Largest Minority Population in the Future

According to the 2020 United States Census, Hispanics make up 18.7% of the total population, making them the second-largest racial group after Whites and the largest minority group. The pie chart below shows a breakdown of the United States population by race for 2020. 
Population Breakdown
The percentage of Whites has been declining and, for the first time, fell below 60% in 2020. This downward trend is expected to continue. According to population projection estimates by the United States Census, minority groups are expected to make up most of the country’s population starting in 2045. Additionally, Hispanics are projected to remain the second-largest racial group through 2060, making up 28% of the population. 

2. Hispanics are the Second Fastest Growing Population in the United States

The United States census is completed every decade. Comparing the 2020 and 2010 census results show that the Hispanic population grew by 23%. The Asian population surpassed the growth of the Hispanic population with a growth rate of 35.5% in the same timeframe. However, it is essential to note that the Asian population is smaller than the Hispanic population. This trend is projected to continue into the future.

3. Hispanics have the Highest Workforce Participation Rates

As shown in the graph below, Hispanics have participated in the workforce at higher rates than White, Blacks, and Asians. 

Workforce Participation Rate

4. Hispanics have the Youngest Population

As shown in the graph below, Hispanics participate in the workforce at higher rates because their population is younger than the rest.

5. Hispanics are Driving the Growth of the Workforce in the United States

As shown below, Hispanics have historically represented a large percentage of workers entering the workforce. For example, from 2000-2010 and 2010-2020, Hispanics represented 54% and 91% of new hires, respectively. As a result, Hispanics are expected to make up 78% of the United States workforce in the next decade. The remaining racial groups represent a smaller percentage. This data shows Hispanics have been the main driver of the growth of the workforce and the trend is expected to continue into the future.

Overview of the STEM Workforce

A breakdown of the United States workforce by race is shown in the graph below. Given that Whites are the largest racial group, it is no surprise that they constitute the majority of the total workforce, non-STEM workforce, and STEM workforce. What is glaring is that Hispanics represent only 8% of the STEM workforce with a bachelor’s degree or higher despite constituting 18.7% of the total population. Asians, on the other hand, represent 6% of the population but yet compose 16% of the STEM workforce. The lack of Hispanics and other minority groups in the STEM workforce shows a lack of diversification.


Benefits of Pursuing STEM

According to the BLS, STEM professions are expected to grow at an estimated 10.5% from 2020 until 2030, faster than non-STEM occupations (7.5%). Additionally, the median annual wage for STEM professions is double that of non-STEM professions, standing at roughly $95,420. Refer to my previous post that discusses other benefits of pursuing STEM.

Workforce 2020 2030 Growth Rate Median Wage

Hispanics are the Key to Diversifying STEM

This analysis shows that Hispanics are the best-suited population to diversify STEM, given the enormous influence over the workforce and the even more significant influence they will have in the future.

What's Next?

The following blog post will discuss how to select an undergraduate institution.

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Stephanie Taboada

Stephanie Taboada

The author of this post is a Chemical Engineering Ph.D. Candidate. As a Latina and a STEM professional, Stephanie is passionate about incentivizing Hispanics to pursue STEM. Read Stephanie's blog to understand the benefits that exist in STEM for underrepresented groups. Follow her on social media to know when the next blog posts.

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