Most Popular Fields of Study, Since 1970

Dec 7, 2016

The National Center for Education Statistics maintains a variety of metrics related to various levels of schooling. Poking around, I wondered what the kids these days are learning and how it might be different from decades past, which led me to the number of bachelor’s degrees conferred by field of study, going back to 1970. I ranked them over time.

I’m surprised by the big rises for law enforcement and firefighting, along with parks and recreation. I didn’t even know there were majors in the latter field of study, but I guess that shows what I know.

I was also surprised that library science ranked so low, because I had classmates in the field when I was in graduate school. But again, this is based on bachelor’s degrees. Based on additional data, it looks like there aren’t a whole lot of undergraduate programs for library science, and it’s more common for students to pursue master’s or doctorates in the field.

Chart Type Used

Bump Chart

It looks like a line chart. However, the focus is specifically on ranks, usually over time.

Favorites

This is an American Workday, By Occupation

I simulated a day for employed Americans to see when and where they work.

Graphical perception – learn the fundamentals first

Before you dive into the advanced stuff – like just about everything in your life – you have to learn the fundamentals before you know when you can break the rules.

A Day in the Life of Americans

I wanted to see how daily patterns emerge at the individual level and how a person’s entire day plays out. So I simulated 1,000 of them.

How to Spot Visualization Lies

Many charts don’t tell the truth. This is a simple guide to spotting them.