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Turing’s children: Representation of sexual minorities in STEM

Dario Sansone () and Christopher S Carpenter

PLOS ONE, 2020, vol. 15, issue 11, 1-16

Abstract: We provide nationally representative estimates of sexual minority representation in STEM fields by studying 142,641 men and women in same-sex couples from the 2009–2018 American Community Surveys. These data indicate that men in same-sex couples are 12 percentage points less likely to have completed a bachelor’s degree in a STEM field compared to men in different-sex couples. On the other hand, there is no gap observed for women in same-sex couples compared to women in different-sex couples. The STEM degree gap between men in same-sex and different-sex couples is larger than the STEM degree gap between all white and black men but is smaller than the gender gap in STEM degrees. We also document a smaller but statistically significant gap in STEM occupations between men in same-sex and different-sex couples, and we replicate this finding by comparing heterosexual and gay men using independently drawn data from the 2013–2018 National Health Interview Surveys. These differences persist after controlling for demographic characteristics, location, and fertility. Finally, we document that gay male representation in STEM fields (measured using either degrees or occupations) is systematically and positively associated with female representation in those same STEM fields.

Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0241596

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