Computer science degrees for women and other underrepresented groups continue to increase, but representation is still unbalanced

The latest data is in: In 2019, 21% of bachelor’s degrees in computer science were earned by female students, compared to 20% in 2018.

For context, 18 years ago, the number of students graduating with bachelor’s degrees in computer science peaked before heading into almost a decade of decline. Although total graduates eventually caught up to the 2003 peak, the number of women graduating with CS degrees remained low.

But in 2018, the number of female graduates in university computer science finally surpassed the 2003 peak and that number increased again in 2019.

While we are so excited for this trend to continue, the percentages are still far behind balanced representation.

Women continue to rise in STEM

There were more than 17,000 female CS graduates in 2019, once again exceeding the 2003 peak of 12,875 graduates.*

Computer science degrees grow overall

Not only does this data show a record number of women and individuals from underrepresented groups** earning CS degrees, but also a record number of CS bachelor’s degrees overall. The overall number of students graduating with a computer science degree increased from 73,386 in 2018 to 82,693 in 2019.

Records are being broken, but the percentages are discouraging

In 2019, 19% of CS bachelor’s degrees were awarded to students from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, compared to 18% in 2018.

But while the percentage of CS bachelor’s degrees awarded to Black (7.6%), Hispanic/Latino/Latina (10.9%), and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander (0.2%) students increased, it decreased for Native American/Alaskan (0.27%) students.

We applaud the individual students who are breaking these records! But at this extremely slow pace of growth in the percentages, we’re still decades away from a fully-representative computer science field.

As we celebrate the achievement of these young computer scientists who are charting a path and inspiring those who follow in their footsteps, Code.org and our community remain committed to continuing the efforts to support increased diversity in computer science, and we are excited to see more records and stereotypes being broken in the future.

— The Code.org Team

*Source: NCES IPEDS Completions Data retrieved from NSF’s NCSES Table Builder; see our full analysis of the 2019 data here.

**Underrepresented racial/ethnic groups refers to students from marginalized racial/ethnic groups underrepresented in computer science including students who are Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino/Latina/Latinx, Native American/Alaskan, and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander.

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