The Wall Street Journal has an interactive feature where you can see income by college major according to 2010 Census figures. Here is how sociology fared: out of 173 majors (some of which I did not know existed), it was 19th in popularity, had a 7.0% unemployment rate, and median earnings were $45,000 with a 25th percentile of $33k and 75th percentile of $67k.
For median income, sociology is at roughly the 30th percentile.
In popularity, sociology ranked ahead of journalism, mathematics, architecture, chemistry, and music (among others). Top 10 in popularity: Business Management and Administration, General Business, Accounting, Nursing, Psychology, Marketing, Communications, Elementary Education, General Education, and Computer Science.
Are these figures better or worse than people would have expected for sociology?
Of course, we could also discuss if earnings are the only or best way to evaluate college majors. Other possible outcomes to consider: return for one’s money, value to society, specializing vs. having a broader focus.
How do the numbers on this list fit with the recent New York Times article that said American college students study STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) in such low numbers because they find them too difficult?