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Graduate Students and Postdoctorates

Description: 

The economic literature on regional economic growth stresses the importance of high-quality human capital in the workforce. Graduate education at the state’s universities is a source of this talent. Science and engineering specialties are of particular importance to innovation.

The number of graduate students enrolled and the number of postdoctoral appointees in science, engineering and health disciplines in doctorate-granting institutions form this indicator. The numbers are reported by university and have been tallied into state and national totals. The numbers of graduate students and postdoctorates are expressed per 1 million residents on Arizona Indicators.

Data Source: 

National Science Foundation (NSF), NSF-NIH Survey of Graduate Students & Postdoctorates in Science and Engineering: https://webcaspar.nsf.gov/. The annual data are released approximately 30 months after the end of a year.

Annual population estimates, expressed as of July 1, are produced by the U. S. Department of Commerce, Census Bureau. The national and state estimates are released in December. The time series of population estimates is most easily accessed from the BEA: http://www.bea.gov/regional/index.htm.

Data Quality Comments: 

Local production of highly educated individuals does not equate to the local retention of this talented human capital.

iconNumber in Science, Engineering and Health Fields Per 1 Million Residents

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Visualization Notes:

*Methodolgy for calculating the total number of graduate students changed in 2007

Through the 1970s and much of the 1980s, Arizona had substantially more graduate students in science, engineering and health fields on a per capita basis than the national average. However, between 1992 and 2005, the per capita number fell substantially in Arizona while it continued to generally rise nationally. Arizona’s figure was 33 percent less than the U.S. average in 2005. Since then, Arizona’s number has increased more than the national average, narrowing the differential to 17 percent in 2012.

Through the 1970s and into the mid-1980s, Arizona had as many postdoctorates in science, engineering and health fields on a per capita basis as the national average. Since then, Arizona’s per capita figure has been largely flat while the national figure has continued to rise. Relative to the national average, Arizona’s figure in 2012 was 60 percent lower.

Data Source

National Science Foundation (NSF), NSF-NIH Survey of Graduate Students & Postdoctorates in Science and Engineering: https://webcaspar.nsf.gov/. The annual data are released approximately 30 months after the end of a year.

Annual population estimates, expressed as of July 1, are produced by the U. S. Department of Commerce, Census Bureau. The national and state estimates are released in December. The time series of population estimates is most easily accessed from the BEA: http://www.bea.gov/regional/index.htm.