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September 25, 2005

MEN IN HIGHER EDUCATION: Missing in action?

135 women are graduating from college for every 100 men. The U.S. Department of Education projects that the gap will grow in coming years. Some sobering facts: The unemployment rate for men between the ages of 20 and 24 is 10.1%, or twice the national average. There are almost as many men in jail, on probation, and on parole (5,000,000) as there are men in college (7,300,000). Men with college educations earn an average of $47,000 per year; those whose education ended at the high school diploma earn an average of $30,000. What's happening to young men's prospects in this country is devastating. . . .

The question of why there are so few women in the hard sciences draws impassioned debate, urgent calls for equity, and lots and lots of money. But the question of why young men are disappearing from campus is not even being widely asked.

I notice, walking around campus, that there are almost always many more women in view than men.

UPDATE: Great minds think alike. While I was posting the above, the Insta-Wife (who has finally reactivated her long-dormant blog) was posting this.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Some readers think we need congressional hearings, in which university presidents are called upon to explain the shortage of male students. Okay, but give Larry Summers a pass -- he's suffered enough!

Here are some more thoughts on why men are in short supply in college. Meanwhile, N.Z. Bear is going all Heisenberg on me.

If so, others have my pheromonal powers, because reader Tracie Hampton emails:

I just read your entry mentioning 135 female college graduates to every 100 male grads to my husband Earl. He replied, "Is that all?" Recently retired from the USMC, my husband is currently attending East Carolina University in Greenville, NC where he is majoring in math and physics. He reports that his math and science classes are 90% male. In a class of ten students, one or two are female. In his general education classes, it's the exact opposite. His U.S. History class has 65 students, 60 of them female. He estimates that while walking around campus between classes, the ratio of female and male students seems to run about 80/20.

It's not that bad at UT, but maybe the Force is just stronger in Earl. He's a Marine, after all . . . .

And my alleged powers apparently don't apply to blood donations.

MORE: More thoughts here, featuring an argument that men seek high-paying work that doesn't require college. And Arnold Kling does some math.