Organizations Urge the Department of Commerce to Keep College Major Question on the Census’ American Community Survey

Published Jan 01, 2015

by: Young Invincibles, IHEP, and Co-Signers

A letter signed by IHEP and 12 other organizations urges the Department of Commerce to retain question 12 of the American Community Survey (ACS), which asks respondents to “print below the specific major(s) of any Bachelor’s degrees this person has received.” While perceived by the Department of Commerce as a “low benefit” question slated for removal, the co-signers argue that the question allows researchers to explore two primary issues:

  1. Relationships between college major and other economic outcomes, including labor force participation, earnings, and industry of employment.
  2. Trends in the demographic composition and popularity of college majors, particularly to inform economic development and workforce investment strategies, as well as postsecondary education policies.

The letter elaborates how Question No. 12 informs analysis of racial, socioeconomic, and gender divides in key college majors with high demand in the workforce.

View the PDF to read the entire letter.