Employment trends in geography, part 1: Enrollment and degree patterns

Patricia Gober, Amy K. Glasmeier, James M. Goodman, David A. Plane, Howard A. Stafford, Joseph S. Wood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


This paper is the first in a series of three papers dealing with the current and future labor market for geographers. It is based on a report prepared by the Association of American Geographers’ (AAG) Employment Forecasting Committee to the National Research Council’s (NRC) Rediscovering Geography Committee. This report provides a data-based analysis of the past and future supply of geographers, the current labor market conditions in the field, and the factors likely to influence the future demand for geographers (faculty hiring, geographic education initiatives, trends in private-sector jobs, etc.). Each year some 4, 000 individuals receive degrees in geography from America’s institutions of higher education. They, or some portion of them, make up the new supply of geographers entering the labor market. In the near future (up to five years), the availability of new geographers is related to the number of geography students now in the educational pipeline. Their current specialties, and the specialties of the programs from which they come, tell us about the types of skills and the kinds of interests to be held by future labor force entrants. In the longer term (five to ten years), the number of new geographers will be influenced by geographic education initiatives at the precollegiate level. More and better geographic instruction in elementary and secondary schools will expose more students to geography as a field of study and as a potential career path. The purposes of this paper are to (1) review degree and enrollment trends in geography, (2) assess the “trickle-up” effects of geographic education initiatives at the precollegiate level, and (3) investigate the characteristics of future supply as evidenced by the types of occupations for which geography deparments are now preparing students.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)317-328
Number of pages12
JournalProfessional Geographer
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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