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The population of people doing science is increasingly older, and fewer young people are establishing careers in the field.

A recent paper published in PNAS finds there are two main factors contributing to the aging STEM workforce (science, tech, engineering, and math).

The first is that a large majority of current scientists come from the baby boomer generation—now ages 50 to 70.

The second main contributor is that in 1994, universities eliminated mandatory retirement, so many older scientists continue to work long past traditional retirement ages.
This trend could have severe consequences, as science may end up lacking the diverse perspectives needed for creative solutions, and there will be fewer qualified individuals to step up when the boomers finally do retire.
An aging cohort
The authors of this PNAS paper use data from the National Science Foundation and the US Survey of Doctorate Recipients to examine age-related demographic trends in STEM PhD recipients.

Between 1993 and 2010, the authors saw a decline in scientists ages 35 to 53 and a rise in scientists older than 53.

This shift reflects the aging of people currently working in STEM fields rather than a change in the population of researchers.
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