Workers in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and math) play an increasingly important role in the U.S. economy. STEM occupations are critical to the country’s innovation, and STEM workers are responsible for many of the cutting-edge ideas and technologies that create jobs and raise the living standards of U.S. households. Foreign-born workers make up a growing share of the country’s STEM workforce.
Using data from the American Community Survey (ACS) and two different definitions of STEM occupations, this fact sheet from the American Immigration Council provides an overview of the occupational, gender, educational, and geographic distribution of foreign-born STEM workers in the United States.
According to a 2012 report by the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, the United States will need approximately one million more STEM professionals than it will produce at the current rate over the next decade. To meet that growing demand, the United States will need to increase the number of students who receive undergraduate STEM degrees by about 34 percent annually over current rates.
The President’s Council of Advisors provided recommendations for increasing recruitment and retention of students in STEM majors, including women and members of minority groups, who are underrepresented in STEM undergraduate degrees. And while increasing the number of native-born Americans in STEM fields is critical, foreign-born STEM students and workers may still be needed if the United States is to be prepared for future labor needs and continue to excel globally.
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