National Institute on Aging

A Decline in Doctoral Degree Awards for African Americans

The National Science Foundation has released new data on doctoral recipients at U.S. universities in 2011. The annual Survey of Earned Doctorates reports that there were 48,988 doctoral degrees awarded at these universities in 2011. Of these, 1,953, went to African Americans or Blacks who are permanent residents of the United States. Another 430 doctorates were awarded by U.S. universities to Black students who are not American citizens or permanent residents of this country. African American doctoral degree recipients made up 6.1 percent of all U.S. citizens and permanent residents who earned doctorates at U.S. universities.

The number of African Americans earning doctorates has declined in each of the past two years, after reaching an all-time high in 2009. Yet over the past decade there still has been a 12.7 percent increase in the number of Blacks earning doctoral awards. But the percentage of all doctoral degree awards that were earned by Blacks has stagnated at close to 6 percent.


Comments (3)

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  1. ricky daniels says:

    This statistic is quite informative – thanks! I must emphasize once again the monumental importance of higher education to black people, even more so should they be afforded the wonderful opportunity to acquire a Ph.D. in any field. I think black folks should first consider just how much psychological, emotional support their respective programs offer; oftentimes this would be lacking in predominately white college or university graduate curricula (through no specific fault of their own, as we know).

  2. Sean Huddleston says:

    Excellent information. I wonder if this statistic is relative to all Doctoral degree classifications (i.e Ed.D, DBA, etc.) or only for Ph.D’s. In either case, there must be new attention given to programs that increase access for African American’s in this area.

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