Most Popular Fields of Study, Since 1970

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.

Become a member. Learn to visualize data. From beginner to advanced.

Join Today

Membership

This is for people interested in the process of creating, designing, and exploring data graphics. Your support goes directly to FlowingData, an independently run site.

What You Get

  • Instant access to tutorials on how to make and design data graphics
  • Source code and files to use with your own data
  • In-depth courses on visualization in R
  • Hand-picked links and resources from around the web
  • Members-only newsletter

Favorites

10 Best Data Visualization Projects of 2015

These are my picks for the best of 2015. As usual, they could easily appear in a different order on a different day, and there are projects not on the list that were also excellent.

19 Maps That Will Blow Your Mind and Change the Way You See the World. Top All-time. You Won’t Believe Your Eyes. Watch.

Many lists of maps promise to change the way you see the world, but this one actually does.

Divorce and Occupation

Some jobs tend towards higher divorce rates. Some towards lower. Salary also probably plays a role.

The Stages of Relationships, Distributed

Everyone’s relationship timeline is a little different. This animation plays out real-life paths to marriage.