Respect Equality

Most Hispanics believe more visible representation would boost Latino numbers in STEM: study 

A new study from the Pew Research Center found more visible representation of Latinos in STEM would help make younger Latinos feel more welcome in science, technology and math jobs.
Teacher With two male college students building machine in science robotics or engineering class. (iStock)

Story at a glance


  • The Pew Research Center published a report on Tuesday examining the barriers that Latinos face in science, technology, engineering and math fields.

  • The study found that the majority of Latinos in the U.S. feel that science careers are potentially unwelcoming toward Hispanics.  

  • The majority of survey respondents said that more visible representation of high-achieving Latinos in STEM would help encourage younger Hispanics to pursue college majors and careers in science, math, engineering or technology.

Latino workers remain underrepresented in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) workforces, and a new Pew Research Center report found that more visible representation of successful Latinos in STEM would make those workforces more attractive to other Latinos.  

While Hispanics make up 17 percent of the total workforce, only 8 percent work in a STEM field, according to a Pew Research Center report published last year. Meanwhile, white workers make up 63 percent of the workforce and 67 percent of STEM workers. Asians make up 6 percent of the total workforce but account for 13 percent of the country’s STEM workforce.  

While Pew has conducted research in the past to examine the lack of Latinos in STEM jobs, with this study, researchers wanted to dig deeper to figure out some potential barriers Latinos face into pursuing careers in science, technology and math, according to Cary Funk, director of science and society research at the Pew Research Center.  


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“What I see as particularly striking as a potential barrier is how people are seeing these professions as less than welcoming to Hispanic Americans in their ranks,” said Funk.  

Most Hispanic Americans view jobs in the sciences as potentially “unwelcoming” to Latinos, according to a new survey from the Pew Research Center.  

In the survey, Pew researchers state that 3 out of 10 respondents, or 29 percent, view scientists as “not too or not at all” welcoming of Latinos in the field.  

Meanwhile, only 26 percent of respondents believe that scientists as a professional group are “very welcoming” while 42 percent said they were “somewhat” welcoming.  

But respondents also expressed that more visible representation of Latinos in STEM could help drive an interest by making those fields appear more welcoming towards Latinos, Funk added.  

Half of the Hispanic adults that responded to the survey said that seeing more examples of “high achievers” in STEM who are Latino would help “a lot” to encourage younger Latinos to pursue college degrees in STEM. Meanwhile, 31 percent of respondents said that more visible examples of high achievers in STEM would drive interest among younger Latinos to pursue degrees in STEM “a little.”  


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