The Gender Gap Among Black Students at the Nation’s Highest-Ranked Universities

The latest Department of Education figures reveal that black women account for 63.6 percent of all African-American undergraduate enrollments in the United States. JBHE recently surveyed the nation’s highest-ranked universities to determine if the gender gap in African-American higher education was wider or narrower at these institutions than in the nation as a whole.

The JBHE survey found that at 23 of the 26 institutions that responded to our survey, there were more black women enrolled than black men. Only at the University of Notre Dame, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the California Institute of Technology did black men outnumber black women.

Black women make up 71.7 percent of all African-American enrollments at Emory University in Atlanta. This is the largest black gender gap among the 26 universities in our survey. Black women are 68.1 percent of the African-American enrollments at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. At Berkeley, Northwestern, and Cornell, black women make up a larger percentage of the total African-American enrollments than the national average, which as stated earlier is 63.6 percent.

But at the vast majority of high-ranking universities, the black student gender gap is below the national average. In all probability the explanation is that these institutions are highly selective in their admissions policies. Thus these universities have great leeway in molding their student bodies to create racial, ethnic, and gender diversity.

Copyright © 2006. The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education. All rights reserved.