May 16, 2022

New Data: “The Troubled Academic Job Market for Humanities” (U.S.)

New data (June 2016 update) released today by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences Humanities Indicators project.

Patterns in Faculty Employment

  • The number of humanities faculty plateaued in recent years, while the number in the health field continued to grow rapidly.


  • Approximately 157,540 humanities faculty members were employed in two- and four-year colleges.
  • Humanities faculty members made up a slightly smaller share of faculty members at four-year colleges than at two-year institutions in 2015
  • From 2011 to 2015, the share of two-year college faculty in the fine arts increased by 8%, while education and business lost share.

Direct to Data: Number of Faculty Members in Humanities and Other Fields

Patterns in Specific Humanities Disciplines

  • From 2013 to 2015, almost every humanities discipline experienced either minimal growth or a slight decline in its number of faculty members.


  • Most humanities faculty are employed inEnglish language and literatures (with almost two-thirds of humanities faculty in two-year colleges employed in the discipline).
  • From 1999 to 2015, history experienced the lowest level of faculty growth in the humanities, but still increased 40%.
  • The greatest percentage increase in faculty occurred in the category of area, ethnic, and cultural studies (albeit from relatively low levels).
  • The number of faculty employed to teach languages other than English in two-year colleges increased 8% from 2013 to 2015.

Direct to Data: Number of Faculty Members in Humanities Disciplines

See Also: List of all Humanities Indicators Made Available by Project2016-06-06_11-56-19

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.