In 2012, Illinois universities produced approximately 30,200 graduates with STEM degrees at all levels (bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate)—24.3 percent of all degrees conferred by those institutions that year. The state’s performance for STEM degrees put it slightly behind the U.S. average of 26.1 percent of all degrees. Master’s degrees in STEM fields in Illinois accounted for 7.2 percent of the total, outpacing the U.S. average share of 6.3 percent, and doctorate degrees matched the national level of 3.2 percent. However, Illinois underperformed on STEM bachelor’s degrees, which at 13.9 percent was nearly 3 percentage points short of the U.S. average.
Still, Illinois’ STEM degrees showed impressive growth over an 11-year period. From the 2001–02 school year to the 2011–12 school year, the number of annual STEM graduates rose nearly 42 percent. Master’s STEM degrees in Illinois nearly doubled during this period, from 4,745 to 8,881 per year, and the number of bachelor’s degrees conferred annually also rose nearly 4,000, to 17,159 per year. Data indicate that the pace of STEM degree growth has picked up significantly in recent years: from 2002 to 2012, the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of STEM graduates was 3.6 percent. However, from 2009 to 2012 (the post-recession years), the CAGR was 6.4 percent, matching the U.S. growth rate.
To find out more about past trends of STEM degrees in Illinois, read the Illinois Innovation Index post: Illinois makes gains in STEM degrees to draw close to national average.
Continue reading Index 2014 Q2: Comparing Illinois with peer states on STEM degrees reveals progress and challenges
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Illustration by Dieter Braun