2015 GSA Annual Meeting in Baltimore, Maryland, USA (1-4 November 2015)

Paper No. 32-17
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-5:30 PM


RHODES, Dallas D., Department of Geology, Humboldt State University, 1 Harpst Street, Arcata, CA 95521, DallasRhodes@Humboldt.edu

Membership data of the Geological Society of America in 2006, 2011, and 2014 were used to understand the organization’s general demography and to track changes that occurred during the period. The data were analyzed for those members residing in the U.S. and, separately, for those residing elsewhere.

Over the time covered by the data, the greatest change occurred within the youngest cohorts. The members born between 1985-1989 are now the largest cohort in the U.S. membership with 15% of the total. More than half (53%) of the membership is now 50 years of age or younger. The median age of the U.S. membership is 47 years.

The size of the older cohorts has decreased. In the Pre Baby-Boom cohorts (born 1900-1940) the number of members in the U.S. decreased by 51% between 2006 and 2014. The Baby-Boom cohorts (born 1940-1964) have changed little in absolute numbers, although the percentage of the U.S. membership in this group decreased from 40% in 2006 to 33% in 2014. “Retired” is now the third most common “occupational” category (10%) among all U.S. members and is certain to increase as the Boom generation ages. The top two categories are Students (29%) and Four-Year College and University Faculty (21%) nationwide and in every regional Section except the South Central, where Oil and Gas is second (24%).

The U.S. data also show the continuing movement toward gender equity. Gender disparity is profound in the older cohorts but has been reduced significantly in the Post Baby-Boom cohorts (born after 1964) where, in 2014, women comprise 44% of the membership as opposed to 18% in the two older groups. Outside the U.S., the imbalance remains large with women only 23% of the membership.

Based on these data, the demographic trends outlined here can be expected to continue as GSA membership and the American geoscience workforce become younger and more female.

  • GSA Demographics 2015.pdf (1.7 MB)