The disturbing trends that I identified then have continued. In particular, the number of women majoring in the mathematical sciences has continued to stagnant while the number of men has seen very healthy growth (see Graph 1). I will present the graphs of the number of Bachelor’s degrees in the mathematical sciences by race/ethnicity and gender and then conclude with some observations.
During the last decade, the growth in mathematics majors has occurred entirely in universities with graduate programs in mathematics and has decreased sharply at colleges only offering a bachelor’s degree in mathematics (see Good News from CBMS, November 2011). It is these undergraduate institutions that have traditionally had the largest representations of women and students from under-represented groups. I believe that this has contributed to both the increasing discrepancy between men and women and to the decline in the number of Black mathematics majors. Less clear is what has caused the decline in mathematics majors at undergraduate colleges.
It is noteworthy that the growth in the number of Hispanic mathematics majors has been very strong throughout the past two decades. This reflects the tremendous growth in the number of Bachelor’s degrees earned by Hispanic students: from 33,000 in 1990 to 130,000 in 2009, from 3% of all Bachelor’s degrees in 1990 up to 10% in 2009.
Graph 5 is interesting because it illustrates very clearly the post-911 effect on student enrollments from outside the United States. The first two years of sharply stricter student visa requirements, 2002 and 2003, were reflected in a sharp drop in the number of non-resident alien math majors 2007. The good news is that by 2009 we had almost fully recovered. But the most interesting feature of Graph 5 is that there has not been a widening gap between the number of non-resident men and the number of non-resident alien women choosing to go into mathematics. This may be entirely explainable by the fact that women are still catching up to men in this category (see Graph 6).