Major Decline in Doctoral Degree Awards to African Americans

Usually, at this time of year, we have been in a position to report major gains in black doctoral awards. Since JBHE was first published in 1993, we have reported almost a continuous and often major increase in the number of blacks earning doctorates. For both the years 2003 and 2004 we were able to report that the number of African Americans awarded doctorates had reach all-time highs.

But a new report prepared by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago finds a decline. In 2005, there were 1,688 African Americans who earned doctorates. This was a very large decrease of nearly 10 percent from 2004. It was only the third time in the past 20 years that the number of black doctorates had declined from the previous year.

In 2005 blacks made up 6.4 percent of all doctorates awarded to American citizens. In 2004 blacks were 7.1 percent of all doctoral recipients, at that time the highest level ever achieved.