Our topic? The population statistics of the English profession. According to the Modern Language Association (MLA):
More people who teach English teach part-time at Associate's degree level institutions (26,700) than teach full-time at any level of four-year institution (24,911). Only 5.7% of the former have a Ph.D.
73% of all jobs on the MLA Jobs Information List are filled by candidates who had received their graduate degree at most three years before.
With over 80,000 faculty, English trails only Fine Arts and Business in the number of faculty members employed, narrowly edging Biological Sciences, nearly doubling History, and quadrupling Sociology. However, only 1/3 of those faculty work full time.
27.3% of English faculty would be TAs...if TAs counted as faculty. TAs teach 42.9% of English comp classes, 28.3% of lower-division undergraduate courses, and 1.8% of graduate(!) courses. Public institutions are slightly more reliant on this labor, private non-religious institutions slightly less, and private religious institutions are almost entirely free of it (4.4%).
Average salaries for full-time, non-tenure track English professors have increased by 14% in real terms since 1999.
Tenured professors ($65,320) make almost $20,000 more on average than tenure track professors ($45,590), who make only $4,000 more than full-time non-tenure track professors ($41,391). Part-time faculty, however, make almost nothing ($9,586) and a full 12% of them have a joint household income below $25,000 (including spousal income).
41.5% of all full-time, non-tenure track faculty hold a master's degree and have no plans for further study.
Enrollment in degree-granting institutions has risen by three million in the past 10 years, while the number of English faculty has declined by 1,700. Only English and Law suffered declines among the 19 major fields chosen by the MLA for comparison.
On a final positive note, the plurality of all tenure track assistant professorships went to those directly out of graduate school (32%)!
You always knew you did it for the love of learning, now you have the statistics to back it up!