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College Majors

This folder contains the data and code behind the story The Economic Guide To Picking A College Major.

All data is from American Community Survey 2010-2012 Public Use Microdata Series.

Download data here:

Documentation here:



Three main data files:

All contain basic earnings and labor force information. recent-grads.csv contains a more detailed breakdown, including by sex and by the type of job they got. grad-students.csv contains details on graduate school attendees.

Additionally, women-stem.csv contains data for scatter plot in associated DataLab post on women in science/technology jobs. It is a subset of recent-grads.csv. (Small easter egg: Check out my related Shiny app:

Headers for recent-grads.csv are shown below:

RankRank by median earnings
Major_codeMajor code, FO1DP in ACS PUMS
MajorMajor description
Major_categoryCategory of major from Carnevale et al
TotalTotal number of people with major
Sample_sizeSample size (unweighted) of full-time, year-round ONLY (used for earnings)
MenMale graduates
WomenFemale graduates
ShareWomenWomen as share of total
EmployedNumber employed (ESR == 1 or 2)
Full_timeEmployed 35 hours or more
Part_timeEmployed less than 35 hours
Full_time_year_roundEmployed at least 50 weeks (WKW == 1) and at least 35 hours (WKHP >= 35)
UnemployedNumber unemployed (ESR == 3)
Unemployment_rateUnemployed / (Unemployed + Employed)
MedianMedian earnings of full-time, year-round workers
P25th25th percentile of earnings
P75th75th percentile of earnings
College_jobsNumber with job requiring a college degree
Non_college_jobsNumber with job not requiring a college degree
Low_wage_jobsNumber in low-wage service jobs