Ranking the States by the Percentage of Women Among Their Doctoral Degree Recipients

The National Science Foundation recently released its annual data on research doctoral degree recipients in the United States. Data for the annual Survey of Earned Doctorates shows that universities in the United States conferred 52,250 research doctorates in 2021, down 5.5 percent from 2020. Of these, 24,156, or 46.2 percent, were earned by women. The percentage of all research doctorates earned by women increased slightly in 2021.

In 2021, California awarded the most doctorates to women of any other state by a large margin. Women earned 2,623 doctorates at California universities in 2021. The next highest total was in Texas, where women earned 1,904 doctorates. The only other states where more than 1,000 women received doctoral degrees in 2020 were New York, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Florida, and Illinois. Eight other states awarded between 500 and 999 doctorates to women.

Only 19 women earned doctorates from universities in Wyoming in 2021, the fewest in the nation. Vermont, Maine, Alaska, and South Dakota, each awarded fewer than 50 doctorates to women.

Perhaps a more interesting series of statistics is what percentage of all doctorates awarded in a given state went to women. Despite the fact that nationwide men earned more doctoral degrees than women in 2021, there were several states where women earned more doctorates than men.

In Hawaii, women earned 78 doctorates compared to only 55 for men. Thus, women earned nearly 59 percent In of all doctorates awarded in the state in 2021, the highest percentage in the nation. In Minnesota, women earned 851 doctorates compared to only 648 for men. In Mississippi, Nevada, Maine, and the District of Columbia, women earned more doctorates than men. In Alaska and Maryland, an equal number of men and women earned doctorates in 2021.

In Wyoming, women made up only 22.6 percent of all doctorates awarded in the state in 2021, the lowest percentage in the nation.

Filed Under: Degree AttainmentsResearch/Study

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