This paper asks whether and to what extent occupational segregation by gender, race/ethnicity and nativity at national level influences the patterning of individual college major choice. National Education Longitudinal Studies (NELS 1988-1994) provides college major information and the Public Use Micro data 1990 census 5% sample (PUMS 5%) provides occupational structure information, focusing on the demographic representation in broad occupational fields by gender, race and nativity. I match the occupational structure information from the PUMS data to the NELS data by group membership, after cross-classifying gender, race and nativity. This paper finds that the demographic group representations in technical and life/health science occupations at societal level have significant positive influence on choosing corresponding college major fields for students from the same groups. This may indicate that the seemingly individual choice of college major has deep structural roots at the societal level.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Psychology
- Sociology and Political Science