The majors least likely (and most likely) to vote in elections

Students who major in STEM enjoy a number of benefits: higher salaries, desirable jobs, and work-life balance.

However, recent research has found that students who major in STEM may be less engaged in political and civic life, two researchers write in The Conversation. The researchers are Inger Bergom, senior researcher at the Institute for Democracy and Higher Education at Tufts University and Hyun Kyoung Ro, assistant professor at Bowling Green State University.

STEM students are among the least likely to vote, according to an analysis by Bergom and Ro of enrollment and voting data from around 2 million undergraduates at four-year colleges. The voting rate of STEM majors is 46.4%, compared with 53.5% for the major most likely to vote, education. Only one group had a lower voting rate than STEM majors: business majors, at 46%.

How colleges can get more students to the polls

Other studies have found that STEM students also have lower rates of participation in other political and civic activities, such as donating money to a campaign, attending a political meeting, or expressing a commitment to social activism.

The authors note that the demographics of STEM students, compared with those of other majors, can explain some of the disparity. Compared with other majors, STEM students tend to be younger and male, two characteristics correlated with lower voting rates (Bergom/Ro, The Conversation, 1/29).

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