The Hip Hop Hackathon came together in response to the alarming stats for Blacks and Latinos in STEM.
The proportion of bachelor’s degrees in science awarded to Black graduates remained flat at about 9 percent from 2001 to 2016, according to the most recent available figures from the National Science Foundation; in engineering, it declined from 5 percent to 4 percent; and in math, it dropped from 7 percent to 4 percent.
More recent figures released in April 2021 by the Pew Research Center show that, in 2018, Black students earned 7 percent of STEM bachelor’s degrees.
College-going trends that have occurred during the pandemic threaten to lower these proportions even further. Total Black undergraduate enrollment at universities and colleges is down by more than 7 percent this semester from where it was last spring, the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center reports.
According to a Pew Research Center report from April 2021, Hispanic people make up 17% of the total workforce, but only 8% of workers in the STEM field. Comparatively, white workers make up 63% of the overall workforce and 67% of STEM workers. Furthermore, the average Hispanic STEM worker makes only 83% of the average white worker's salary. These inequities demonstrate how STEM has routinely favored white workers while disfavoring Hispanic individuals.
While Hispanic representation in STEM has grown one percentage point since 2018, more needs to be done by higher education institutions and hiring managers to help fix this underrepresentation, but that will take time. According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), STEM jobs are the hardest to fill. A 2013 Global Executive Solutions Group study found STEM jobs took 50 days to fill on average — 16 days longer than jobs with no education requirements.
Historically, Hispanic and Latino/a students have been underserved in STEM fields due to divergences in the education system. According to the Pew Research Center, in 2021, Hispanics earned 15% of all bachelor's degrees in the U.S., but only 12% of STEM degrees. At the master's level, they earned 11% of degrees overall, but only 9% of STEM degrees.