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Report

Gender and racial diversity of federal government economists: 2020 data

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Nasiha Salwati

Research Assistant - The Hutchins Center on Fiscal and Monetary Policy

The lack of diversity in the economics profession has drawn increasing attention in recent years, but much of the focus has been on academic institutions. This report – an update of one we did in 2018 – looks at the diversity of the more than 2,200 Ph.D. economists employed by the federal government, including in the Federal Reserve System, the executive branch, and the research arms of Congress.

Our major findings for 2020:

  • 29% of Ph.D. economists in the federal government are women, compared to 27% of economics faculty in academia.
  • 26% of Ph.D. economists in the federal government are minorities (Black, Hispanic, Asian, and other minorities), compared to 19% of economics faculty in academia.
  • 24% of the economists employed by the Federal Reserve System (which employs nearly 40% of the federal government’s economists) are women; that percentage has been roughly stable since 2013, the first year for which we have Federal Reserve System data.
  • 28% of the Federal Reserve System’s economists are minorities, compared to 22% in 2013.
  • 32% of federal economists outside the Federal Reserve are women, compared to 27% in 2010, the first year for which we have data for non-Fed federal economists.
  • 26% of federal economists outside the Federal Reserve are minorities, compared to 18% in 2010.

Read the full report here.

Read a blog sharing findings from the National Science Foundation’s Survey of Earned Doctorates for the 1216 PhDs in economics awarded in 2020 here.


The Brookings Institution is financed through the support of a diverse array of foundations, corporations, governments, individuals, as well as an endowment. A list of donors can be found in our annual reports published online here. The findings, interpretations, and conclusions in this report are solely those of its author(s) and are not influenced by any donation.

Acknowledgments:

The authors thank Jimena Ruiz Castro for research support.

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