Charts of the Week: Teacher diversity

teacher dissimilarity index

In this week’s Charts of the week, some demographics of the teaching profession are explored, focusing on how the field is becoming increasingly more female and how the diversity gap is growing parallel to that.  

The teacher diversity gap is inherited

In their paper, Seth Gershenson and Alberto Jacinto show that “the children of teachers are more than twice as likely to become teachers themselves,” and this finding holds true for all but the sons of black teachers. Over the past few decades, the teacher workforce has remained about 80% white and mostly female, a trend that will most likely not break unless there are more efforts to understand why people enter the teaching profession and how to recruit more diverse educators.

transmission of teaching

The teaching profession is becoming more female

As the labor market opened in the 20th century and women were granted more job, education, and economic opportunities, it was predicted that women would begin to branch out from careers outside of teaching and nursing. Dick Startz has found the opposite to be true, showing that over time the teaching profession has become increasingly more female dominated.


US teachers are more segregated than their students

As evidence shows that diverse teachers are important for educational outcomes for students, Michael Hansen and Diana Quintero discuss the continued segregation  of minority teachers across the teacher workforce. Hansen and Quintero show that “nonwhite teachers are needed in far more places than we currently have them, and those many schools with no teachers of color are the places that need them most.”

student dissimilarity index

teacher dissimilarity index

Julia O’Hanlon contributed to this post.