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The Foreign-Born with Science and Engineering Degrees: 2010

This brief, based on 2010 American Community Survey estimates, examines patterns of science and engineering educational attainment among the foreign-born population, with attainment of specific science and engineering degree types by place of birth and sex, as well as metropolitan statistical area. It also compares attainment of such degrees by the foreign-born and native-born populations.


  • In 2010, 48.5 million (28 percent) of the 170.7 million native-born population 25 and older and 9.1 million (27 percent) of the 33.6 million foreign-born population 25 and older had a bachelor's degree or higher.
  • Foreign-born residents represented 33 percent of all bachelor's degree holders in engineering fields, 27 percent in computers, mathematics and statistics; 24 percent in physical sciences; and 17 percent in biological, agricultural and environmental sciences.
  • Of the 4.2 million foreign-born science and engineering bachelor's degree holders in the U.S., 57 percent were born in Asia, 18 percent in Europe, 16 percent in Latin America and the Caribbean, 5 percent in Africa, 3 percent in Northern America and less than 1 percent in Oceania.
  • The majority (64 percent) of foreign-born residents with degrees in computers, mathematics and statistics were born in Asia, including 24 percent who were born in India and 14 percent who were born in China.
  • Overall, only 7 percent of foreign-born residents with science and engineering degrees had majored in psychology.
  • Of the 9.1 million foreign-born residents 25 and older with bachelor's degrees, 51 percent were female. However, only 37 percent of the 4.2 million foreign-born residents with science and engineering degrees were female.
  • Looking at areas with a foreign-born population greater than 100,000, the highest proportion of foreign-born residents with science and engineering degrees was in the San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif. metro area (29 percent), followed by the Baltimore-Towson, Md. metro area (24 percent).

Internet address: <https://www.census.gov/prod/2011pubs/acsbr10-06.pdf>. [PDF]

No news release associated with this report. Tip Sheet only.

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Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Public Information Office | PIO@census.gov | Last Revised: May 19, 2016