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Academic Opportunity in Anthropology, 1974-90

Author(s): R. G. D'Andrade, E. A. Hammel, D. L. Adkins, C. K. McDaniel

Source: American Anthropologist, New Series, Vol. 77, No. 4, (Dec., 1975), pp. 753-773
Published by: Blackwell Publishing on behalf of the American Anthropological Association
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AcademicOpportunity 1974-901
in Anthropology,

Universityof California,San Diego
Universityof California,Berkeley
AlewYork Uniuersity
Universityof California,Berkeley

Since 1960 there has been a steady decline in the number of children born each
year in the United States. As a result, the numberof eighteen-to twenty-one-year-
old adults will decline from approximatelyseventeen million in 1980 to fourteen
million in I 990. E:venwith an inereasingpercentageof college entrclnces,there will
still be a large decrease in the college student population. New faculty will not be
required, and even "growth" disciplines such as anthropology will suffer severely
from the lack of availableacademicpositions for new Ph.D.'s. Anthropology, which
has had a rapid increasein the numberof Ph.D.'s awardedyearly, will even by the
most optimistic projections be unable to accommodate the large majorityof new
Ph.D.'s after 1982 in college or uniuersitypositions. It appearsmost likely that the
Ph.D.'s who are not able to find academic positions will be able to find
employment in administrativeand staff positions.


difficult to accept forecasts of unwanted events. Nevertheless, a variety of projections
concerningfuture academicpositions in anthropologylead to the conclusion that from 1977
onwardthe numberof academicpositions for anthropologyPh.D.'swill decreaseyearly until
it reachesa "worse than zero" situation in 1987 and 1988. Meanwhile,the numberof people
seeking such positions will continue to increase. In the early 1990s the situation is likely to
improve,but only slightly.
The general situation of decreasing academic job opportunities is not unique to
anthropology; Cartter (1974), Haggstrom(1971a, 1971b), Balderstonand Radner (1971),
the U.S. Office of Education (1973), and others have examined overall or aggregate
academic conditions, while Lussier'sstudy of political science (1971), Anderson'sstudy of
mathematics (1973), and Finsterbusch's(1973) and Adkins' (1973a) studies of sociology
have gathereddata on specific disciplines.All of these studies show the same basic trend of
Basically, this situation has been caused by the rapidgrowthof Ph.D. and M.A. programs
along with a historic downwardshift in birth rates. Since 1960, the numberof anthropology
M.A.'sproducedeach year has doubled every five years, and the numberof Ph.D.'s produced
each year has doubled every six years. Figures1 and 2 display in graphicform the growth in
anthropology M.A. and Ph.D. degree productionsince 1950. It is interestingto comparethe
timing of the rapid increase in anthropology B.A.'s with that of higher degrees. Figure 3

Submitted for publication b'ebruary 26, 1 9 7 5

Accepted for publication June 10, 1975

oo oo
C5> t Oo ocs - (v)
t_ N nt t
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400 t
380 /
360 X
340 /
320 /
300 Z
280 j/
200 i
180 t
140 t_
120 /
100 i
80 r

40 _t/
t t S U: LD S S S S LD U) U) (D Q C9 s O s CD s CO (D N rs b b N

t d t S S LD S S LD LD S U) U) CD Cg (D s CD CD s (D Q Q N N N N
cs, CS) CD O O O oz a) O az O C5) O O O O O O O O 0 O cn O O O O

Figure 1 . Ph.D. degrees conferred ( in anthropology ). *

Seurce: Table I.

presents this data in graphic form, and Table I gives the actual yearly figures for all
anthropology degrees by year and sex. Somewhat surprisingly, the growth in number of
B.A.'s did not occur prior to the growth in number of higher degrees, but in concert with it.
The entire academic system in anthropology appears to have responded as a unit, rather tha
in temporally marked steps.
The rapid growth of anthropology coincided with the growth of the college age
population, which in turn resulted from the increase in birth rates begun twenty years
earlier. Figure 4 presents birth rates from 1900 to 1970. The birth rates show a sharp
increase in the period between 1940 and 1960, and then a decline from 1960 to the present.
The decrease in birth rate has resulted in an almost continuous decrease in the number of
children born each year since 1960. Twentv years after 1960, as the age cohort reaches
eighteen to twenty-one, the number of men and women available to enter colleges and
universities will also begin to decrease. Figure 5 which presents a graph of the number of
persons between the age of eighteen to twenty-one by year, shows the sharp increase which
began in 1960, almost doubling the number of persons eighteen to twenty-one by 1980, and
then decreasing every year through 1990.
Given the decrease in the college age population from 1980 to 1990, what will happen to
the number of new academic positions potentially available for anthropologists? The number
_ OD
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D'Andrade et al. ] ACADEMIC OPPORTUNI TY IN ANTHR OPOLOGY, 19 74 -90 755


850 /
750 /
650 /
600 /
550 )

500 [

450 i/
350 /
300 Z

250 y

200 -/
150 /

100 ,_w_ __ /

S S (D O CD (D O O CD O O (D N b b b N
t t U) S S S S U) Ln Ln

S S S (9 CD (D (D C9 Q AD C9 CD Q b rs b b
t t t S Ln S LD S S Ln
O cn O O O O O O O O 0 a) O O on O 0
O 0 0 O O O O O cn O

Figure 2. Earned masters' degrees conferred (in anthropology).*

*Sourse: Table I.

Of academic positions depends on: (1) the number of persons who enter colleges and
universities; (2) the fraction who entoll in anthropology courses; (3) student-faculty ratios;
(4) the number of retirements, deaths, and transfers out of academic employment of people
already in academic positions. These factors can be reasonably estimated, given the
assumption that social change will be gradual rather than revolutionary.
Wherethere are alternativeestimates of the same factor, our strategyhas been to use the
more optimistic rather than the less optimistic estimate with respect to the imbalance
between the supply of and the demand for academic jobs in anthropology. This strategy
attempts to minimize the chance that the emergence of pessimistic conclusions will be an
artifact of pessimistic assumptions.
First, concerning the percentage of persons who will enter college, two major estimates of
enrollment in higher education are the Haggstrom projection and the Cartter projection
(Cartter 1974; Haggstrom 1971a, 1971b). Of the two, the Haggstrom projection is the higher
one and therefore the more optimistic one for faculty jobs. The figures for the two
projections are presented in Table II. These projections include both undergraduate and
graduate enrollments. Both projections show a less precipitous decrease in enrollments after
1980 than would be projected from the demographic data alone. This is because both
assume that the percentage of people entering college will increase, and also that increases in
numbers of advanced degree students will continue. We have selected the Haggstrom
N 00O OO O- v N CEl
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6,200 [77,1975
6,000 r

5,800 C
5,600 X
4,600 l
4,400 /
4,200 /
4,000 /
3,800 t
3,600 Z
3,400 /
3,200 j
3,000 r
2,800 /
2,400 l
2,200 /
2,000 j
1,800 /
1,600 i
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1,200 t
1,000 /
800 y
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CSX O c) c) C5) c) c) O O c) O O c) O O) c) c) O O c) CS) O c) c) O C5)

Figure 3. Baccalaurate degrees conferred (in anthropology).*

*.Source: 'l'able I.

projection solely because it presents the more optimistic view and is considered to be an
upper limit by most specialists (e.g., Wolfe and Kidd 1971). The Haggstrom figures show an
increase in enrollments through 1982, then a period of decrease through 1987, followed by a
small increase into 1990. The Haggstrom and Cartter projections are graphed in Figure 6.
With respect to the percentage of people entering college, for eighteen- to nineteen-year-
old males the figures have varied from 34.4% to 44.0%, while for eighteen- to
nineteen-year-old females the figures have varied from 26.0% to 34.5%. There is some
controversy at present concerning whether this percentage will continue to rise along the
historic trend or will fall or remain relatively constant through the next twenty years. Critics
1974-90 757

Bachelor's Master's Doctorate

Male Female Total Male Female Total Male Female Total
1947-48 59 80 139 17 9 26 22 2 24
1948-49 92 98 190 25 20 45 15 2 17
1949-50 194 158 352 45 24 69 20 2 22
1950-51 214 150 364 62 27 89 28 7 35
1951-52 159 125 284 51 22 73 39 12 51
1952-53 145 139 284 66 14 80 30 7 37
1953-54 142 93 235 63 24 87 25 8 33
1954-55 136 153 289 69 26 95 41 6 47
1955-56 145 158 303 56 33 89 39 5 44
1956-57 170 159 329 57 23 80 45 3 48
1957-58 171 201 372 53 26 79 40 10 50
1958-59 212 162 374 79 41 120 42 9 51
1959-60 254 195 449 78 39 117 38 17 55
1960-61 237 188 425 78 34 112 60 12 72
1961-62 289 210 499 62 25 87 42 7 49
1962-63 329 265 594 98 45 143 70 12 82
1963-64 389 379 768 108 52 160 63 23 86
1964-65 506 488 994 130 50 180 70 15 85
1965-66 624 626 1250 151 77 228 75 14 89
1966-67 723 841 1564 184 133 317 80 22 102
1967-68 836 1001 1887 254 131 385 105 36 141
1968-69 1036 1303 2339 325 198 523 113 37 150
1969-70 1320 1783 3103 348 205 553 149 46 195
1970-71 1712 2098 3810 390 322 712 163 61 224
1971-72 2054 2540 4594 448 366 814 183 67 250
1972-73t 6121 886 215 96 311
1973-74t 6166 935 267 123 409

*Source: Adkins (1975) Source of basic data: U.S. Office of Education, Earned Degrees Conferred,
U.S. Government Printing Office, Annual. Includes an allocation of appropriate residual categories that is
incoznsequential except in the peried 1947-1949.
1972 and 1973 totals are taken frorn the Guide and may differ from the federal figures primarily be-
cause of differences in reporting year of award.

Of the assumptionof risingenrollmentpercentagesarguethat new, non-collegetrainingmay

cut into traditional college enrollments and that credentialistichiring of degree holders,
consideredby many to be the principalsupport of college enrollment,is likely to diminish.
The Haggstromprojections, which we use in this analysis,assumeundergraduateenrollment
rates will continue to rise and that graduateenrollment rates will remainat recent levels. In
the light of this discussion,they are thereforeoptimistic.
The next issue concerns the size of anthropology class enrollments. A survey of
anthropology enrollments and employment was carried out by Hammel and McDanielin
1972-73, requestinginformationfrom 1967 to 1972. Survey results are basedon responses
from sixty two-year institutions, seventy-five four-year institutions without a major in
anthropology, fifty-eight four-yearinstitutions with a major in anthropology.Based on the
results of the survey, it appearsthat the enrollment surge in anthropologyoccurredfirst in
- - - E - - - - - -

universitiesgrantinga graduatedegree in anthropology, then in four-yearinstitutions, and
will occur last in two-year institutions. The data are presented in Table III. "Class
enrollments" refer to the number of students enrolled in anthropologycourses. A student
taking one anthropology course is counted as one enrollment; a student taking two
anthropology courses is counted as two enrollments, etc. Since not all institutions kept
records through 1967, the total class enrollments for all reportinginstitutions for a given
year have been as-eragedby the numberof institutionsreporting.
For the last three years includedin the survey (1969-70 to 1971-72), the increasein mean
class enrollments was eight percent for institutionsgrantinggraduatedegrees,thirty percent
for institutions grantinga B.A. in anthropology, twenty-four percent for institutionswhich
grant a B.A. but not in anthropology,and seven percent for institutionsnot grantinga B.A.
Duringthis time period, total student enrollment increasedfrom approximately6.3 million
to 7.1 million, an increase of approximately eleven percent. Thus, it appears that
enrollments for institutions grantinga graduatedegree grew less than the national average,
but for other B.A. grantinginstitutions enrollment growth is still greaterthan the national
Enrollmentsfor subdisciplinesof anthropology appearto vary only slightly by kind of
institution, although there is a trend for archaeologyto increaseslightly at the expense of

120 \ s

110 \ / \

100 \ /

90 Q 1 \

70 i

o S o S o S o S o u) o S o co
| - N N CD n d- t LD U) CO CO N N
az O O O O cn O O O ou O O O O

Figure 4. Births per thousand, women aged fifteen to forty-four.*

*Source: Monthly Vital Statistics Report, ,Summary Report, Final Natality S;tatistics, 1972, HRA 7S-
1120, Vol. 23, No. 8, ()ctober ,31, 1974, U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare.
- - - - - - v t


physical anthropology in the graduatedegree and anthropologyB.A. grantingdepartments.

These data are presentedin Table IV.
From the results of the Hammeland McDanielenrollment survey, it appearsthat there
will continue to be an overallgreaterthan averageincreasein anthropologyenrollments,but
that the trend is moving towards a leveling of enrollments. In order to estimate the overall
pattern of enrollment changes, one of the present authors, an economist specializingin the
human resourceaspects of highereducation, prepareda projectionfor yearly "demand"for
anthropology courses (Adkins 1973a). This estimate was derived by first developing an
estimate of how much teachingtime or "effort" is given by the averageacademicanthropol-
ogist to various kinds of majors(i.e., anthropologymajors,other social science majors,other
majors) cross-cut by level of instruction (i.e., lower division undergraduate,upper division
undergraduate,terminal masters, beginning doctoral, and advanced doctoral). These esti-
mates are presentedin Table V. Usingprojectionsbasedon the Haggstromseries, the number
of each kind of major at each level of instruction was multiplied by the estimated "effort"
coefficient, and then the required anthropology teaching "effort" was calculated by
summing across all categories of instruction. Adkins used as his basic unit the teaching
"effort" required by one undergraduateanthropology major, so that the total figures
represent the required effort in terms of "equivalentmajors."2The Adkins projection of








1 1,000

1 0,000



Ln o Ln o S o S o ? o
t S U) ED (D N N ?D ?? 0
cs) 0 0 O O O 0 0 0 0

Figure 5. Persons eighteen to twenty-one years old.8

*Source: Bureau of Census, 1972, U.S. Department of Commerce, Current Population Reports, Popu-
lation Estimates and Projection, Projections of the Population of the U.S. by Age and Sex: 1972 to
'9020, Series P-25, No. 493.
(in thousands)

Year "CartterX' "Haggstrom"

1970-71 6,303 6,697
1971-72 6,755 7,125
1972-73 7,115 7,623
1973-74 7,489 8,095
1974-75 7,831 8,526
1975-76 8,197 8,925
1976-77 8,525 9,280
1977-78 8,799 9,601
1978-79 9,050 9,918
1979-80 9,324 10,205
1980-81 9,537 10,428
1981-82 9,705 10,596
1982-83 9,834 10,661
1983-84 9,746 10,601
1984-85 9,514 10,477
1985-86 9,228 10,312
1986-87 8,862 10,175
1987-88 8,639 10,114
1988-89 8,541 10,116
1989-90 8,545 10,214
1990-91 8,674 10,378

$Source: Balderston and Radner (1971).

required equivalent majors from 1973-90 for anthropology is presented in Table VI and
Figure 7.
Comparing the general shape of the curve for the Haggstrom enrollment projection
(Figure 6) with the Adkins' anthropology equivalent majors' projection (Figure 7), it can be
seen that Adkins' projection for anthropology is less catastrophic with regard to the size of
the decline than might be expected from Haggstrom's projection. This is because Adkins
projects a continued greater-than-average growth rate in enrollments at both undergraduate
and graduate levels.
From Adkins' projection of enrollment trends in terms of equivalent majors, the number
of new anthropology positions can be estimated by taking the current number of anthropol-
ogy positions, and, assuming that the ratio of the number of faculty positions to the number
of equivalent majors will stay constant at the 1968-71 average, adjusting the current number
of positions in direct proportions to change in enrollments.3
Unfortunately, there are no firm figures available concerning the number of academic
positions in anthropology in the U.S. and Canada. Based on U.S. National Science Founda-
tion survey figures, Adkins estimates that there are at present somewhat more than 2000
Anthropology Ph.D.'s in the U.S. in academic positions. Based on figures from the Guide to
Departmentsof Anthropology, which lists faculty for almost all institutions in the U.S. and
Canada that grant higher degrees in anthropology, and using the AnnualReports concerning
the number of Fellows and Voting Members of the American Anthropological Association, it
is estimated that there are currently about 4000 academic positions held by anthropologists.
8,500 oN _ is
n_ t n
t_ Ln t _ CD Z
U) _ QN _ NXb oo
_O --s -
O_ O o_ Nt t n N - t n .. ? t
_ O_S b Q| 44-
N _ O O % O O _ o

D'Andrade et al. ] A CADEMIC OPPORTUNI TY IN A NTHR OPOLOGY, 19 74 -90 7 61

* . . . 4 Cartter
* * Haggstrom
1 1,000





y .#
8,000 / .#*
X *-
7,500 / '
/ .*

7 000 t.
6,500 g.

N rs b N N b N N N oo oo oo oo 00 oo oo oo oo oo cs O

N N b N N N f> l N N oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo O
O O O O 0 O a) O 0 O 0 O O O O O O O 0 a) O

Figure 6. Alternative projection of total enrollment in U.S. Higher education, 1970-90.*

*Source: Table II.

This figure of 4000 includes A.B.D.'s ("all but the dissertation") and M.A.'s and anthro-
pologists with degrees in curriculums other than anthropology. A third estimate, based on
the survey, yields an ever larger number of anthropology positions. Extrapolating from
enrollments for each type of institution and using an informally based estimate of a twenty-
to-one student-faculty ratio, it is estimated that as of 1972 there were 1700 anthropology
positions in the 151 institutions granting higher degrees in anthropology, 490 positions in
the 124 institutions granting the B.A. in anthropology, 2000 positions in the 1370 four-year
institutions which grant the B.A. (but not in anthropology or not listed in the Guide), and
1850 positions in the 967 institutions which do not grant the B.A. Thus, for 2612
post-secondary institutions it is estimated that there are a total of 6040 anthropology
positions. Based on Cartter's estimate that sixty-five percent of persons holding positions in
graduate degree granting institutions have a Ph.D., that forty-four percent of persons holding
positions in non-graduate B.A. granting institutions have a Ph.D., and that fifteen percent of
persons holding positions in non-B.A. granting institutions have a Ph.D., approximately 2500
Ph.D. anthropologists would be expected in academic positions. This estimate of 2500 is
reasonably close to the Association EIgures(2649 doctorates are listed in the 1973-74 Guide
to Departmentsof Anthropology), and to the 1973-74 population projection of 2877 made
by Adkins.4
(total class enrollments . number of institutions reporting)

Mean Class Enrollments 1967-68 1968-69 1969-70 1970-71 1971-72

For: Institutions Granting
Graduate Degrees 2029 2113 2463 2676 2666
(Number Institutions
Reporting) (55) (60) (65) (65) (65)
For: Institutions Granting
B.A. in Anthropology Only 439 568 665 799 947
(Number Institutions
Reporting) (47) (53) (53) (57) (58)

For: Institutions Granting B.A.

Ijut not in Anthropology 125 277 282 345 369
(Number Institutions
Reporting) (47) (54) (63) (69) (75)
For: Institutions not
Granting the B.A. 399 404 431 425 462
(Number Institutions
Reporting) (28) (34) (41) (54) (60)

*Source: Hammel and McDaniel Survey, see text.

However, it is almost certain that of the total 6040 positions, a fairly large numbe
consists of persons teaching anthropology courses whose higher degrees are in fields othe
than anthropology. The likelihood is very small that only anthropologists will be hired fol
new positions of this type. But again, as a conservative strategy, we have selected the
optimistic assumption of 6040 positions on which to base our projections. This is unrealistic
in many ways, but certainly gives a target for expansion for the American Anthropological
The final parameter to be estimated concerns the number of yearly retirements, deaths
and loss through change of occupation. Figure 8 presents an estimate of the age structure ol



Type Institution
Subfield Graduate A.B. w/Anth A.B. w/o Anth Not A.B.
Physical 22 18 16 35
Archaeology 15 10 5 5
Cultural 60 70 78 59
Linguistics 3 2 1 1
Total Classified 100 100 100 99
General and
Unclassified 22 27 18 16

*Source: Hammel and McDaniel Survey, see text.


Lower Upper
Division Division Terminal Beginning Advanced
Bachelor'stBachelor's Master's Doctoral Doctoral
Anthropologymajors .334 1.0 1.5 1.5 2.5
Majoringin other
social sciences .0067 .0063 .025 .028
Majoringin all other
disciplinesexcept medi-
cine and dentistry .00097 .00069 .000075 .00024
*Source: Adkins (1973a).
' Includes community college enrolles who subsequently receive a bachelr's degree.

f A lower division "major" refers to a student who subsequently becomes an upper division anthropol-
ogy major in the same or another lnstitlltion.


Column 1 Column 2 Column3 Column4 Column5 Column6

Required Total Required New FacultN
Equivalent Faculty Attrition Total (Net Change
Year Majors (Estimate) Net Change Rate Attrition plus Attritior
1973-74 29,413 6,040
1974-75 31,898 6,550 510 .9% 59 569
1975-76 34,573 7,099 549 .9% 64 613
1976-77 37,319 7,663 564 .8% 61 625
1977-78 40,040 8,222 559 .8% 66 625
1978-79 42,762 8,781 559 .7% 61 620
1979-80 45,383 9,319 538 .7% 65 603
1980-81 47,843 9,824 505 .7% 69 574
1981-82 50,203 10,309 - 485 .6% 62 547
1982-83 52,444 10,769 460 .6% 65 525
1983-84 54,421 11,175 406 .6% 67 473
1984-85 55,893 11,477 302 .6% 69 371
1985-86 56,800 11,663 186 .6% 70 256
1986-87 56,795 11,662 -1 .6% 70 69
1987-88 56,070 11,513 -149 .6% 69 -80
1988-89 55,558 11,408 -105 .6% 68 -37
1989-90 55,481 11,392 -16 .6% 68 52
1990-91 55,766 11,451 59 .6% 69 128

*Source: Columns 1 and 4 (Adkins 1973a); see te.xt for discription of calculati<)ns for other columns.



1st & 2nd 3rd & 4th 5th & 6th 7th & 8th 9 or more Mean for 21
Year Year Year Year Years Stable Programs

.095 .106 .184 .200 .266 .377

*Source: Data from Guide to Departments of Anthropology.

to 1990 (Adkins 1973a). Using (1) Adkins' projection of enrollment trends in anthropology,
(2) a baseline figure of 6040 potential positions in anthropology as of 1973, (3) the
assumption of steady student-faculty ratios,5 and (4) the Adkins' attrition rate estimates,
the "number of faculty required" and the "number of new faculty" have been calculated for
the period 1974 to 1990. The results are presented in Table VI.
The next set of estimates involve the projection of the number of anthropology Ph.D.'s
which will be produced between 1973 and 1990. Based on historical trends, Adkins (1973a)
projected a rising proportion of anthropology Ph.D.'s in the total of all doctorates and
applied this to Haggstrom's projection of aggregate doctorates. Such a projection is naturally
sensitive to small changes in the estimate of the percentage of anthropology degrees out of
all higher degrees. From a Elgure of 294 degrees in 1972, Adkins projects that 762
anthropology Ph.D. degrees will be awarded in 1982, and 1056 anthropology Ph.D. degrees
in 1990.



Number of Ratio of
Faculty in Number of Ph.D.'s Produced
Ph.D. Granting Ph.D. Granting Per Year to Number
Year Departments Departments Faculty of Ph.D.s

1973-74 1335 83 .24 325

1974-75 1395 87 .26 360
1975-76 1435 90 .26 375
1976-77 1462 92 .27 398
1977-78 1488 94 .28 424
1978-79 1512 95 .30 448
1979-80 1520 95 .30 463
1980-81 1530 96 .31 475
1981-82 1539 96 .31 485
1982-83 1545 96 .32 500
1983-84 1550 96 .32 5()9
1984-85 1550 96 .33 517
1985-86 1550 96 .33 525
1986-87 1550 96 .33 532
1987-88 1550 96 .34 536
1988-89 1550 96 .34 539
1989-90 1550 96 .34 544

*Source: See text.

@* * *@@* .... * @ @
Conservative w. ...
Ph.D. __v_

Another set of estimates for Ph.D. production was obtained on the numberof faculty in[77,]975
institutions havingPh.D. programs.A series of correlationstudiesindicatedthat the number
of faculty and the length of time departmentshad been producing Ph.D.'s gave the best
predictions of Ph.D. production. Table VII presents the faculty-Ph.D.production ratio by
number of years since production of the first Ph.D. Since there is a six or more year lag
between the time when a student enters a programand the receipt of the Ph.D., and since in
most of the "young" Ph.D. producing departmentsboth faculty size and the numberof
graduatestudents enrolled increasesas the departmentmatures,an attempt was made to get
an estimate of what the faculty-Ph.D.production ratio would be in a stable situation.This
was done by selecting twenty-one departmentswhich had been producingPh.D.'sfor more
than ten years, and which had not experienced rapid growth in either faculty or graduate


1 ,100 . * l

1 ,000

9oo Adkins Ph.D. Projection




500 *
> > *@@.
300 *.

*. New Academic Positions
: ^
100 * -

t S co b oo O o - N X t ur O N X O o
N N rv N N N 00 az Oo oo oo oo oo X X X O
n t u) cs N oo O O - N X i ur co N co O
N N rv N N rs rs CD oo oo oo co OD ax X cs oo
_ _ _ O O O O O 0 C aw c) <<) O

Figure 9. Anthropology doctorates

and numbers of new academic positions required, 1973-90.*

*S()urce: Table VI and VIII and Adkins (1973a).


Federal Research
Gross National Total Expenditures in Research Nu
Product Labor Anthropology Expenditures Anth
(Billions of Force (Thousands of As a Percent in R
1958 Dollars) (Millions) 1958 Dollars) of GNP Dev

1960-61 $487.7 72.1 $2,218.0 .00045

1961-62 497.2 73.0 3,837.7 .00077

1962-63 529.8 73.4 3,779 5 .00071

1963-64 551.1 74.6 4,974.3 .00090

1964-65 581.1 75.8 6,122.2 .00105

1965-66 617.8 77.2 7,325.5 .00119
1966-67 658.1 78.9 9,873.6 .00150
1967-68 675.2 80.8 9,535.7 .00141
1968-69 706.6 82.3 8,778.4 .00124
1969-70 725.6 84.2 8,329.2 .00115
1970-71 722.1 85.9 6,480.1 .00090
1971-72 741.7 86.3 8,233.9 .00111

*Source: Adkins (1973a). Basic sources cited there: Historical data on the GNP, Fcol?omic Report of the Preside
potser Report of the President, 1972. GNP and labor force projections for 1972-90 bnrJohn Meyers, unpublished, C
and 2000, extrapolations by the author. Federal research and development expenditures from National Science 'ound
Developme?nt, annual number employed in research and development based on National Register data in National Scien
power, annual, according to footnote 2, Table 7.

Gross National Total Employment of Anthropologists

Product Labor Research and Development
(Billions of Force Conservative Optimistic
1958 Dollars) (Millions) Projection Projection
1972 $ 789 88 192 205
1975 989 94 206 261
1980 1155 102 223 360
1985 1406 108 237 449
1990 1691 113 247 546

*Source: Adkins (1973a).

students during this period. The mean ratio for these mature and stable departments is.38
Ph.D.'s per year for each full time faculty member.
In our judgment, the number of schools granting Ph.D.'s in the United States and Canada
has moved close to the saturation point. The 1973-74 Guide lists eighty-five departments
offering the Ph.I)., of which approximately seventy-five have actually produced at least one
Ph.D. Given the general situation of declining academic opportunity for Ph.D.'s, it seems
unlikely that the number of schools actually producing Ph.D.'s will substantially exceed 100.
[Of the more than 2500 colleges and universities in the U.S., 100 carry out ninety-four
percent of funded research, and account for almost forty percent of all enrollments (Bell
1973).] Table VIII presents our projection of the growth of Ph.D.'s production from 1974
to 1990 based on the assumption of a leveling off at ninety-six Ph.D. producing
departments, with an average of sixteen full-time faculty per department, and an overall
increase in the ratio of Ph.D.'s produced to faculty from .24 to .34 as all departments
mature. The result is a rise to 544 Ph.D.'s produced in 1990.
With regard to academic job opportunity, this conservative estimate of Ph.D. production
is more optimistic than Adkins' projection in terms of proportion of anthropologists who are
likely to be able to obtain academic positions. Figure 9 presents the graph for the number of
Ph.D.'s produced by year according to both projections and the number of positions
With projections of Ph.D. supply and demand for anthropology faculty in hand, we are
now in a position to look at the question of imbalance. As a first, optimistic cut at the
problem, we may make the two followingassumptions: (1) the supply of Ph.D.'swill be the
conservative one described in the previous paragraph and (2) Ph.D.'s in anthropology will
always be able to outcompete M.A.'s in anthropology, and Ph.D.'s in other disciplines for
available new positions teaching anthropology. With these optimistic assumptions, the
academic demand for anthropology Ph.D.'s will exceed the supply until 1982, as can be seen
in Figure 9, but thereafter, between 1982 and 1990, for every 100 anthropology Ph.D.'s
produced, seventy-one will not be able to find academic positions.
We reiterate, this is our optimistic projection. Various less optimistic assumptions, which
we have sloughed off along the way, will produce ever smaller proportions of Ph.D.'s able to
find academic positions.
What will be the consequences of a situation in which the large majority of anthropology
.: u E


First Employment Position by Degree Level*

a = is : _ !::, c : : : o< E
Degree ;) D H V b H t v z < O Z; >

MA 15.0% 2.4% 16.5% 0% 11.8% 0<37O 12.6% .8% 2.4% 6

total 127

ABD 39.7% 5.3% 15.0% 0% 2.2% 0% 18.1% 0% 2.5%

total 320
Ph.D 63.8% 2.3% 20.9% .6% .7% 2.0% 0% 0% 1.0%
total 705

Current Subsequent Employment Position by Degree Level

MA 20.7% 10.3% 6.9% 3.4% 13.8% 0% 10.3% 3.4% 0% 10

total 29
ABD 50.7% 1.5% 10.4% 0% 0% 0% 9.0% 0% 10.4oSo 3
total 67
Ph.D. 68.1% 4.0% 12.8% 0.3% 0.3% 0.6% 0% 0% 3.6% 2
total 329

*Source: Hammel and McDaniel survey, see text.

Ph.D.'s are not able to obtain academic positions? One possibility is that well trained
anthropologists will be able to find relevant research positions in applied fields.
Unfortunately, the number of research positions outside academia is likely to be much
smaller than one might expect. Adkins, in his (1973a) report on manpowerconditions in
anthropology, examined the historical trends in goverllment funding of research and
development from 1960 to 1971. These data are presentedin Table IX. Since governmental
policies toward funding social science researchare not easily predictable,Adkins developed
two major sets of projections. For the conservative projection, the number of research
professionalsis kept at a constant proportion of the labor force based on the estimatesfor
1970. For the optimistic projection it is assumedthat anthropologicalresearchfundingwill
increaseat three times the rate of the GNP, and researchpersonnelwill increasefour times as
fast as the growth of the labor force. These estimates are presentedin Table X. The results,
even for the optimistic projection, indicate that probably no more than several hundred
anthropologists will be able to find full research employment outside academia. These
figures emphasize the fact that anthropology has been an academicallyoriented discipline,
and that most researchhas been carried out in conjunction with teaching. At present, it
seems unlikely that either businessor governmentwill become a heavy enough consumerof
anthropologicalresearchto balance the loss of academicemployment broughtabout by the
Another question that immediately comes forwardin discussionsof conditions in which
there are more Ph.D.'s than academic positions, concerns the issue of who the "lucky" few
will be who are able to find academic employment. To date, the problem has not yet
become sizable enough in anthropologyfor there to be an adequatesample for study. In the
Hammel and McDaniel survey the employment records for 1152 new degree holders in
anthropologyover the period from 1967 to 1972 were obtained. The data are presentedin
Table XI for current and subsequentpositions held. (The holdersof "subsequent"positions
are also tallied according to their first position held.) In general,the figures indicate that
only a small percentageof Ph.D.'s have obtained positions outside universitiesand colleges,
and that the percent of unemployment is still very low. (The total presentlyunemployedis
only nineteen out of 705 Ph.D. holders, or 2.7%.) The M.A.'s show a greaterpercentage
taking governmentaland non-academicpositions, a greater percentage of unemployment,
and also a greaterpercentagetaking positions in junior colleges. As a first approximation,it
seems likely that as the gap between supply and demand for academicpositions increases,
the pattern of Ph.D.'s and A.B.D.'s will begin to move toward the employment profile of
M.A 's.
There are very few data presently available concerning which of the degree producing
institutions will be most effective in obtaining academic positions for new degree holders.
Information of some relevance comes from a study by the American Philosophical
Association, which conducts an annualplacementsurvey.In this study it was found that the
chances of obtaining an academic position were related to the characteristicsof the degree
granting department. The chances of obtaining a position were best if the degree holder
came from a departmentwhich had only a few candidatesto place. The chancesof obtaining
an academic position were poor if the degreeholder came from either a prestigedepartment
with more than ten candidatesto place or a relativelyunprestigiousdepartmentwith more
than five candidates to place. Bottom candidates from large departmentsfared especially
badly (Rorty 1972).
It seems likely to us that the same pattern will obtain in anthropologyas the academic
market tightens, since placement of degree holders in academic positions appears to be
strongly influenced by the social and intellectual contacts of the degreegrantingfaculty. If
this pattern does occur in anthropology, there is likely to be great strain on the large
graduatedepartmentswhich have a highly developedacademicorientation.
If the Ph.D. and M.A. anthropologistsare notabletofindeitheracademicorresearch
positions, what are the most likely occupations into which these people will move? Adkins'
(1973a) observationson this issue seem especiallypertinent:

Even if a large number of anthropologists and sociologists are not absorbed by the
traditional university and researchoccupations, we should not expect them to undergo
mass unemployment or to en masse transformthemselvesinto taxi driversand pottery
makers. Rather, we should expect to find them occupying high-leveladministrativeand
staff positions which would range from research-likestaff jobs where very practical
courses of action are evaluated for administratorsto the jobs of the administrators
themselves.Anthropologistsand sociologistswill find their traininguseful in public policy
contexts where insights into the operation of the social system and ability to analyze the
full range of effects of service deliverysystems are an importantaspect of many jobs and
in almost any administrativecontext where an understandingof how people interact in
small groupsis an essentialelement of administrativesuccess.
In this context, however, the anthropologists and sociologists lose their claim to
uniqueness and, perhaps, to special status. Heretofore, perseverancein graduateschool
automatically guaranteed the option of a rather employment-secureand status-secure
occupationaltime path. The individual,thus, had some control of his or her future.
In the new arenaof the labor marketfor administrativeand staff personnel,the individual
no longer controls occupational and status destiny in the same way. He or she must
compete with personsof different disciplinarybackgrounds,differentlife experiencesand
according to performance criteria where proven ability to get high grades and do
academic researchand writingis not necessarilydecisive.Anthropologistsand sociologists
will be competing with historians,economists, political scientists, psychologists,lawyers,
business administrationgraduates,public administrationgraduates,social work graduates,
public health graduates,urbanstudies graduates,etc., not to mention educationists.All
those professionalshave valid claims to expertise in one or anotheraspect of social theory
that is relevantto administration.
In each administrativecontext a personwith a given disciplinarybackgroundwill become
conversant to some degree with the modes of analysis of other specialties. The more
applied social science fields, such as businessadministrationand public administration,
introduce their students to an array of disciplinaryofferings in "core' sections of the
curriculum,and this may give them an initial labor market advantage.It may be more
difficult, therefore, for sociologists and anthropologiststo "break in" to new contexts
and they may enter at a hierarchicallylower level than people with other backgrounds.
Thus, ratherthan the roughequality of formalstatus between disciplinesin a university,a
Ph.D. in sociology or anthropologymay find himself or herselfhierarchicallysubordinate
to a personwith an M.B.A.,with a consequent feeling of status loss.
He or she may even find him or herself hierarchicallysubordinateto personswith lower
credentialsin the same disciplineor with the same credentialsbut with obviously inferior
disciplinaryahility. All of this representsa readjustmentin disciplinaryself-imagewhich
may produce resistanceto the very curricularchangeswhich might increasethe ability of
anthropologyand sociology graduatesto compete with graduatesfrom other disciplines.
Nevertheless, it seems reasonable to conclude, tentatively, that anthropologists and
sociologists will, in fact, be able to compete effectively for high-level staff and
administrativejobs [Adkins 1973a:32-35].

Faced with this probability-that if presenttrends,conservativelyassessed,are continued,

the great majority of anthropology Ph.D.'s will not secure academic or research
placement-how likely is it that anthropologywill move towardsubstantiallydecreasingthe
number of Ph.D. degrees awarded? Such a decline would require severe declines in
enrollment or persistencerates. These declines, in turn, would result from either a declining
demand for enrollment by students or from a curtailmentof enrollment by departments.
The question is whether these movements, as a responseto poor opportunitiesfor academic
employment, could be fast enough or large enough to alter our conclusions that the great

majorityof anthropology Ph.D. recipients in the 1980s will have to enter the generallabor
marketfor professionalskills.
With respect to student demand for enrollment, several considerationsmilitate against
accepting the conclusion that the numberof Ph.D.'sconferredwill self-adjustto the number
of academic slots available through voluntary non-enrollment on the part of potential
students. First, since the number of bachelor'sdegreesawardedwill increasefor most of the
next decade, a moderate decline in the rates of graduateenrollmentand persistencewill not
producea decline in absolute numbers.
Second, it is not obvious that the student responseto academicemployment difficulties,
which after all will affect most academicdisciplines,will result in substantialswitchingfrom
anthropologyto other disciplinesor in the droppingof plansto obtain academlccredentials.
Credentialsdo not often harm a person's chances in the generalprofessionallabor market
and are often desired by employers. Furthermore,given the long informationand training
lags in higher education, it will take years for the switching effects that do eventuate to
affect degreeconferrals.6
Third, the strong non-economiccomponent of student motivation for graduatestudy will
tend to minimize the amount of field switchingamong disciplines.So will the generalinertia
of the universitysystem.
Fourth, any sharp decline in student demand for graduateplaces that did start to occur
would be likely to engender an opposing institutional reaction from those anthropology
departmentsthat, due to the enrollment decline, find it difficult to justify the continued
employment of their teaching staffs. This departmentalreaction, for example, might take
the form of decreasedadmissionsselectivity or a promotionalcampaign.
These considerations,taken together, make it highly unlikely that the student responseto
decreased academic employment opportunity will solve the problem. How about depart-
mental response? Could a substantial enrollment decline be produced by departmental
policy despite continued student demand for places? It is conceivable that the larger
departmentsmight effectively limit their graduateenrollment. But if this should happen,
there is likely to be a countervailingnational mechanism whereby small or otherwise
vulnerable programs, in order to survive, pick up much of the potential enrollment not
absorbed by the largerdepartments.Voluntary retrenchmentin sociology and other social
science departments would also be likely to lead to increases in enrollment in vulnerable
anthropologyprograms.Thus, even though substantialvoluntaryaction by a largenumberof
departmentstakes place, the net effect is likely to be dissipatednationally.
In summary, our most optimistic assessmentof the future of academicemployment in
anthropologyindicates that after 1982 over two-thirdsofallanthropologyPh.D.'swillhave
to find employment outside academia. The great majority of these positions will be
primarilyadministrativein character,rather than researchoriented. If the conclusionsfrom
the Rorty study of job placement hold for anthropology,even the best departmentswill be
able to place only a smallnumberof graduatesin academicpositions. Underthese conditions
departmentsof anthropologywill experiencea situation in which most of their higherdegree
candidateswill be able to use directly very little of the trainingpresently gsrenin graduate

l Research and data analysis for this study was supported by Grant MH 19864-04 from
the National Institute of Mental Health. Assistance and advice from Kenneth Lutterman,
BurtonFisher,and EdwardLehmanis gratefullyacknowledged.
2The methodology of equivalentmajorsis explained in detail in Adkins(1973b).
3This is another optimistic assumption, considering that the averagefaculty-equivalent
major ratio for anthropology over the period 1968-71 was only seventy percent of that
calculatedfor sociology.
4Unpublishedestimate taken from the series reported quinquentiallyin Adkins (1973a).
5 Moreprecisely,equivalentmajor-facultyratios are referredto here.
6See Adkins (1975, pt. 3) for a surveyof the highereducationeffects of the labor market
for degreeholders.

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