You Say Goodbye, and I Say Hello

December 14, 2006Posted by Jay Livingston

Inside has a report today showing that Sociology is on the leading edge when it comes to retirement. In just ten years, we've nearly doubled the rate at which we're hanging up our spikes. I suspect this has a lot to do with the trajectory of the field itself, not just with those in it. As Everett Hughes pointed out, professions have careers just as people do, and one aspect of that career is the waxing and waning of popularity. If there was a sociology boom in the sixties, all those people who entered the field then should be hitting retirement age about now.
Percentage of Social Science Ph.D.’s Who Are Retired
Field 1993 2003
Economics 9.1% 11.2%
Political science 7.4% 10.8%
Psychology 4.6% 6.2%
Sociology 6.2% 11.7%
Other social sciences 6.7% 8.3%
The bad news is that their retirements haven't translated into new hires, at least not in the same proportions.

Percentage of Social Science Ph.D.’s Who Are Unemployed
Field 1993 2003
Economics 1.4% 0.9%
Political science 2.0% 1.4%
Psychology 1.5% 1.7%
Sociology 1.3% 2.6%
Other social sciences 1.6% 1.5%

Thanks to Chris Uggen for pointing me to this story.


Dan Myers said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dan Myers said...

Let me try that again and get the link right:

I'm not so sure. ASA membership is at its highest level since the mid seventies.

And section membership indicates people are (at least in one sense) more involved than ever. Section membership, sections, and section memberships per member are all at all time highs.