Few of Florida’s college-educated workers are in STEM occupations. Does that affect educational decision-making in the state?

Statistics from the 2012 American Community Survey released by the US Census Bureau yesterday showed that Florida ranks near the bottom of the nation in the percentage of its college-educated workers who are in STEM occupations.

Only 8.9% of the state’s college educated workers are in STEM occupations, compared to the national rate of 12.4%.  Mississippi has the nation’s lowest rate at 6.8%, while North Dakota is second lowest at 7.1%.  States that have rates statistically indistinguishable from Florida include Arkansas, Hawaii, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Nevada, New York, South Dakota, Tennessee, West Virginia and Wyoming.

States at the top of the ranking include Maryland (18.8%), Washington (18.3%), Virginia (16.5%), Colorado (15.1%), California (15.0%) and Massachusetts (14.8%).

The report also includes percentages of college-educated workers engaged in “STEM-related” occupations, which include a range of health care careers.

For those of us who care about providing students with opportunities to enter the engineering and physical science professions, the question is whether the relatively small size of the STEM professional community in Florida – and the relatively small role that STEM industry plays in the state’s economy – affects educational decision-making.

The spreadsheet released by the Census Bureau and from which the above statistics were extracted is here:



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