Demographic and Socioeconomic Inequality in a Highly Educated and Increasingly Immigrant Workforce: The Case of Biomedical Research

Misty L. Heggeness, National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Frances Carter-Johnson, National Institutes of Health (NIH)

The biomedical research workforce is highly educated with an increasing immigrant population who come to the United States with J-1 or H-1 visas to study or receive additional advanced training. Although highly educated, the workforce faces a wide range of issues related to livable wages, salaries, and benefits – particularly for those still in training. The level of inequality in wages between and among principal investigators, staff scientists, postdoctoral associates, and graduate students is important to analyze as it has the potential to hinder or accelerate innovation in biomedicine. This paper reports changing demographics of this population overtime using nationally representative census and household survey data to provide an innovative perspective. We also study individual-level income data within the workforce and calculate Gini coefficients to study inequality over time. Our results show the current status of inequality within the field with respect to demographics and income. Policy implications are discussed.

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 Presented in Session P8. Economy, Labor Force, Education, and Inequality/Gender, Race and Ethnicity