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Why major in math?

Here is a summary of a recent local study by Pat Kenschaft of Montclair State in New Jersey:

Final statistics: 455 people with math majors but not computer science double majors replied. Of these, the median income was $60K, the 75th percentile was $75K, and the 25th percentile was $49,400. Most of those in the bottom percentile were teachers, college professors, or people who opted for lower salaries to follow a "calling." There were two waiters, one car-parts salesman, one billings clerk, and one unemployed man in the class of '64, constituting about 1% of the repondents, who wanted very much to change their status.

Most report enjoying their work; 83% checked "very much" or "enormously." Job satisfaction is phenomenal.

There was an enormous variety of jobs in math, including business analysis, insurance, biostatistics, computer systems, technical sales, and many in management. There were one doctor, four lawyers, one pharmacist, one chaired professor of education at Stanford University (Nel Noddings), an author of 8 novels (one nominated for a mysteries prize), and an author of a book on TQM that has sold over 8 million copies (she worked with Deming and carries on his work full-time). All of these and almost all of the others were glad they majored in math.

Many enthused about the delights of having a major that facilitates changing careers in middle-age relatively easily. Many have done so, especially in and out of teaching. Others commented about how surprised they were that they continue to enjoy their work so very much - in all fields.

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