Overall, total undergraduate engineering enrollment decreased during the 1990s, dropping from approximately 380,000 in 1990 to 361,000 in 1999.
Women accounted for 20 percent of total undergraduate enrollment in engineering programs in 1999, up from 16 percent in 1990. (See appendix table 2-11.) They accounted for a slightly lower percentage (19 percent) of full-time first-year engineering enrollment in 1999. The number of women enrolled in undergraduate engineering programs increased every year from 1990 to 1998, dropping slightly in 1999; the number of men declined in most years during the 1990--99 period.
Enrollment of white students in engineering characterized the general pattern of total undergraduate engineering enrollment, but the trends for other racial/ethnic groups followed different patterns. Asian, Hispanic, and American Indian enrollments in engineering generally increased between 1990 and 1999. Black enrollment peaked in 1993 and dropped in 4 of the 6 years from 1994 to 1999. (See appendix table 2-11.)
The percentages of Asian, black, Hispanic, and American Indian undergraduates enrolled in engineering programs increased between 1990 and 1999, while the percentage of whites decreased. (See figure 2-4 and appendix table 2-11.)
Asian, black, Hispanic, and American Indian women accounted for larger percentages of engineering enrollment of their respective racial/ethnic groups than did white women. Black women were 34 percent of black engineering enrollment; Asian, Hispanic, and American Indian women were between 23 and 25 percent of the enrollment of their respective racial/ethnic groups; and white women were 18 percent of white engineering enrollment in 1999. (See appendix table 2-12.)