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Useful Stats: Undergraduate enrollment below pre-pandemic levels in 43 states, grad enrollment up in 33 states

Total postsecondary enrollment is down 5% from fall 2019 to fall 2023 due to a 6% drop in undergraduate students. While undergraduates are down, graduate students have surpassed pre-pandemic enrollment numbers by 4%. Enrollments in undergraduate and graduate certificates are up significantly from pre-pandemic values (16% and 21%), while enrollment in associate degrees are down more than any other undergraduate credential (-14%). Continue reading for a national and state-level analysis of the recently released fall 2023 enrollment estimates from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center (Clearinghouse).

Useful Stats: Trends in graduate students and postdocs by field of study

Graduate student enrollment and postdoctoral appointments have shifted in fields of study over the past decades, with many fields exploding in graduate enrollment and postdoctoral appointments. Computer and information sciences graduate students jumped from just 4% of all science enrollments in 1975 to nearly a quarter of the total by 2021, while engineering postdocs in biological, biomedical, and biosystems engineering jumped 5,671%– increasing from 3% in 1975 to 19% of all engineering postdocs by 2021. This edition of Useful Stats uses the full range of NSF GSS data to explore trends in graduate students (1975-2021) and postdoctoral appointees (1979-2021; postdocs) in science and engineering.

Useful Stats: 40+ year trends in postgraduate science, engineering, and health

The number of graduate students in science, engineering, and health has grown from approximately 328,000 to 760,000 from 1975 to 2021, a 132% increase, according to the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Survey of Graduate Students and Postdoctorates in Science and Engineering (GSS). When compared to a 60% increase (from 9.7 to 15.4 million) in total undergraduate enrollment across all fields of study over the same time period, the scale of growth can be better seen. However, while the number of graduate students in science has seen an upward trend over the 46-year period, the number of graduate students in engineering has stagnated since 2014.

Useful Stats: 5-year state industry profiles, 2018-2022

The United States has one of the most diversified economies of any nation, yet also the most dynamic; over the past five years, from 2018 through 2022, the U.S.’ agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting industry has grown 53%, while other industries such as manufacturing and construction have grown at a slower pace—17% and 23% respectively—compared to a 25% increase in overall gross domestic product.

Useful Stats: Income inequality across the states

Income inequality in the U.S. has increased from 2006 to 2022, according to American Community Survey (ACS) data. While it’s increased in the nation as a whole, it decreased in North Dakota, Washington, Hawaii, Nebraska, and Montana from 2018 to 2022. New York and Washington, D.C. lead the nation in income inequality. This edition of Useful Stats explores state-level Gini index data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s ACS, analyzed by the State Health Access Data Assistance Center (SHADAC) at the University of Minnesota.

Useful Stats: An overview of 2023 VC activity

United States venture capital activity not unexpectedly slowed down in 2023, cooling off after multiple years of record-high deals and values during 2021 and 2022, according to the PitchBook-NVCS Venture Monitor Q4 2023. Pitchbook-NVCS estimates a total deal count of 15,766 (13,608 actual + 2,158 estimated) for 2023– exceeding the values of 2020 and prior years but falling several thousand short of the last two years. Between these deals, just $170.6 billion was invested, a drop of $71.6 billion from 2022 and $177.4 billion from 2021.

Useful Stats: Microbusinesses executed $6.1 billion of domestic R&D in 2021

In 2021, U.S. microbusinesses reported $8.1 billion in research and development (R&D) expenditures, of which the microbusinesses themselves performed 75% ($6.1 billion) The $6.1 billion in microbusiness-performed R&D represents an increase of 9% over the prior year and 17% since 2019. Microbusinesses are those with nine or fewer employees.

Useful Stats: Higher Education R&D by State and Institution

The United States is home to some of the world's most prestigious universities, each performing critical research that helps advance the country’s innovation economy. However, these universities are not evenly distributed across the country; many are concentrated within large cities in states where their spillover further impacts the local economies.

Useful Stats: HERD expenditures by R&D field and source of funds

Research and Development (R&D) is an essential component of innovation and economic growth, where higher education institutions play a key role. However, with these institutions being responsible for funding just a quarter of all HERD expenditures, it is important to see the influence of outside funding sources on the fields of R&D. For example, Health and Human Services (HHS) has long been the largest contributor of funding into higher education R&D, which is reflected in life sciences being the R&D field with the most significant funding levels.

Useful Stats: Higher Education R&D expenditures near $100 billion in FY 2022

Institutions of higher education spent $97.8 billion on research and development (R&D) activities in fiscal year (FY) 2022, an increase of nearly 9% over the prior year’s $89.8 billion. Over the past decade of available data, from FY 2013-2022, higher education R&D expenditures have increased 46%, from $67.1 to $97.8 billion. However, when adjusted for inflation, the growth is more modest at 17%.


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