Census: Journalism majors make about $50,000

Wall Street Journal
Journalism majors do slightly better than English majors in the job market, according to 2010 U.S. Census data. The median annual salary for both is $50,000, the same as it is for advertising and PR majors, history majors and communications majors. But the lowest and highest-paid English majors earn less than their journalist counterparts. Journalists have a slightly higher unemployment rate (7 percent) than any of those other majors. The most popular majors are business, business management, accounting, nursing and psychology. Journalism is the 25th most popular major out of 173.

Major Unemployment % 25% earnings Median earnings 75% earnings
Advertising & PR
6.1%
$36,000
$50,000
$74,000
Communications
6.3%
$35,000
$50,000
$81,000
English
6.7%
$32,000
$48,000
$75,000
Journalism
7.0%
$34,000
$50,000
$79,000

Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers show that journalists make up a slightly larger portion of the U.S. workforce than in 2000. At that time, .055 percent of the U.S. workforce was made up of journalists; in 2010, journalists were .058 percent of the workforce. However, women and people of color have not fared as well.

Women made up 46.4 percent of the total workforce in 2000 and were overrepresented among journalists, making up 55.7 percent of that workforce. African-Americans were 11.1 percent of the total workforce in 2000 and were underrepresented in journalism as 8.2 percent of that workforce.

In 2010, women made up a larger percentage of the total workforce — 47.2 percent — but were underrepresented among journalists at 46.9 percent. African-Americans dropped as a percentage of the total workforce — down to 10.8 — and dropped even further to only 3 percent of journalists.

Correction: This post originally stated that journalists made up 5.5 and 5.8 percent of the workforce in 2000 and 2010 respectively. Those numbers were off by two digits — it was .055 and .058 percent.

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  • http://www.poynter.org Poynter

    You are absolutely correct. I just fixed it and noted the mistake. My numbers were off by two digits — it was more like .06 percent. –Julie

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_GLHKMSR4YWUILS67HGWEEWFNRE craig

    Journalists make up almost 6% of the workforce? Does that mean there are, what, around 9 MILLION journalists in the US? I think the BLS information was misread. 

  • Anonymous

    Surprising results. And encouraging mostly, in this anemic recovery.

  • http://www.poynter.org Poynter

    That’s a good question, Paul, and I don’t know the answer. There may be some research on the demographics of liberal arts majors generally, but I’m not sure about journalism majors specifically. –Julie

  • http://www.poynter.org Poynter

    That’s a good question, Paul, and I don’t know the answer. There may be some research on the demographics of liberal arts majors generally, but I’m not sure about journalism majors specifically. –Julie

  • http://twitter.com/paulbradshaw Paul Bradshaw

    A big leap is made here between people who studied journalism, and people who are journalists. The two populations are almost certainly not the same. I’d be interested to know whether people studying journalism tend to come from backgrounds which make them more likely to earn more after they graduate, for example – do they tend to have higher qualifications? Come from more affluent backgrounds?