Chapter 8: State Indicators

Higher Education

Select Indicator:

Quartiles | Findings | Description

Bachelor's degrees in natural sciences and engineering conferred per 1,000 individuals 18–24 years old: 2003

Bachelor's degrees in natural sciences and engineering conferred per 1,000 individuals 18–24 years old: 2003

Bachelor's Degrees in Natural Sciences and Engineering Conferred per 1,000 Individuals 18–24 Years Old: 2003.


Bachelor’s degrees in natural sciences and engineering conferred per 1,000 individuals 18–24 years old: 2003*

1st Quartile
2nd Quartile
3rd Quartile
4th Quartile
Colorado Arizona Alabama Alaska
District of Columbia Delaware California Arkansas
Iowa Illinois Georgia Connecticut
Maryland Indiana Idaho Florida
Massachusetts Kansas Louisiana Hawaii
Montana Maine Nebraska Kentucky
New Hampshire Michigan New Jersey Mississippi
North Dakota Minnesota North Carolina Nevada
Pennsylvania Missouri Ohio New Mexico
Rhode Island New York Oregon Oklahoma
South Dakota Virginia South Carolina Tennessee
Utah West Virginia Washington Texas
Vermont Wisconsin Wyoming  
*States in alphabetical order, not data order.

SOURCES: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, various years; and U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division. See table 8-14.

Top of page.Top of page


  • During the past decade, the value of this indicator increased across the nation as the number of NS&E bachelor's degrees awarded increased by roughly 28%, from nearly 177,000 in 1993 to nearly 226,000 in 2003, while the number of 18–24-year-olds increased by 12%.

  • In 2003, NS&E bachelor's degrees accounted for nearly 17% of all bachelor's degrees, an increase from 15% in 1993.

  • The value of this indicator for the United States was 7.8 in 2003, ranging from 3.2 to 14.1 for individual states. However, the value for the District of Columbia exceeded (an outlier reflecting a large concentration of academic institutions relative to the size of the resident population).

  • State ratings were generally in the same quartile for this indicator as for the number of bachelor's degrees conferred per 1,000 18–24-year-olds.

Top of page.Top of page


Natural sciences and engineering (NS&E) fields include physical, earth, ocean, atmospheric, biological, agricultural, and computer sciences; mathematics; and engineering. NS&E fields differ from science and engineering fields because NS&E fields do not include degrees in social sciences or psychology. The ratio of new NS&E bachelor’s degrees to the 18–24-yearold population indicates the degree to which a state prepares young people to enter the types of technology-intensive occupations that are fundamental to a knowledge-based, technology-driven economy. The capacity to produce NS&E degrees also generates resources for the state. The 18–24-year-old cohort was chosen to approximate the age range of most students who are pursuing an undergraduate degree.

A high value for this indicator may suggest relative success in providing a technical undergraduate education. Student and graduate mobility after graduation, however, may make this indicator less meaningful in predicting the qualifications of a state’s future workforce. The indicator’s value may also be high when a higher education system draws a large percentage of out-of-state students to study in NS&E fields, a situation that sometimes occurs in states with small resident populations and the District of Columbia.

Top of page.Top of page
National Science Board.