Special Report

Choosing These College Majors Will Pay Off the Least


To determine the college majors that will pay off the least, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data on average annual earnings from the Public Use Microdata Sample summary files of the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2018 American Community Survey for over 170 bachelor’s degree fields. ACS respondents were asked to list majors they completed as part of a bachelor’s degree program, as well as additional questions on earnings, employment status, and workweek.

Data on unemployment among the civilian labor force and the size of the employed workforce for each major also came from the ACS PUMS files. In cases where respondents have received multiple degrees, only the first degree listed was considered.

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