Southeastern Section–56th Annual Meeting (29–30 March 2007)

Paper No. 4
Presentation Time: 11:00 AM


RHODES, Dallas D., Department of Geology and Geography, Georgia Southern Univ, Statesboro, GA 30460,

Demographic analysis of the Geological Society of America's (GSA) membership reveals significant differences among the regional sections and the membership as a whole.

The Northeast (NE), Southeast (SE), and North Central (NC) Sections have age / gender distributions typical of growing populations. In contrast, South Central (SC), Rocky Mountain (RM), and Cordilleran (C) Sections have decreasing membership in younger age-cohorts indicating a future decrease in numbers if current trends continue.

A comparison between the members in each section and the total GSA membership based on the cohorts born prior to 1950 provides an index of the relative age of each section. The RM Section has the oldest group of members (6.1% more than the percent of members nationally in the over-50 cohorts) and the NC Section is the youngest (6.5% fewer of its members in the older cohorts). The mean age for all female GSA members is 38 (born 1968), while the mean age for males is 51 (1955). The mean age for all members of the SE is 49 (b 1959) and the mean age of the total membership of GSA is 48 (b 1958). The SE Section has a total age distribution almost identical to that of the entire organization. Additional female members account for much of the growth in the SE over the last 15 years.

The geographical distribution of geology degree programs reveals significant regional differences. American colleges and universities offer about 850 degree programs comprised of 150 doctoral programs, 250 at the masters level, and 450 undergraduate programs. The Northeast Section includes largest number of programs (213) and the Rocky Mountain Section has the least (76). The Southeast Section has 129 programs. Part of the range of these numbers is a direct result of the vastly different populations in the states comprising the regional sections. The U.S. as a whole has about 2.96 geoscience degree programs / million population. Because of its small population (12.8 million), the RM Section has the most programs with 5.90 / million population. In the SE, the most populous section (66.5 million), has 1.94 programs / million population. This apparently significant difference may be accounted for by the low level of funding for higher education in the southeast and the lack of historically important mineral and energy resources.