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SBL Data

SBL Member Profile
Data Collection Year: 2015-2016

Read this report as a PDF by clicking here.

Past reports

  • Data Collection Year: 2014 (Published August 2015)
  • Data Collection Year: 2013 (Published November 2014)


By July 11, 2016 a total of 7,315 members responded to at least one member profile question. Just over half of respondents identify as faculty (55.7%), while nearly 16% identify as students. Museum staff, librarians, archivists, publishing employees, and primary and secondary school teachers are among members, but each makes up less than one percent of profile respondents. Of faculty, 29.2% are employed contingently (adjunct, FTT-NT) and 6.7% are employed part-time. Less than half (47.0%) are employed full-time on the tenure track or are tenured. Nearly nine percent are emeriti.

Members remain concentrated in North America and northwestern Europe, but the organization continues to grow in terms of the number of countries represented among its members. Last year’s member profile report noted that the Society’s members represent 108 unique countries. A marked increase in the number of new countries of birth has pushed this number to 123. Using designations from the United Nations, we classified countries by region and subregion. In terms of country of birth, Africa represents 4.0% of members across 20 countries, with South Africa and Nigeria predominating. The Americas represent 71.0% across 28 countries: Canada and the United States account for nearly all records here (67.9%). The Caribbean and Central and South America account for 3.1%. Asia represents 6.7% of members across 31 countries. Europe represents 15.3% of members across 33 countries. Oceania represents 3.0% of members across 5 countries.

The gender distribution of respondents remains at three quarters male, one quarter female, and less than one percent transgender.

Of all respondents who provided ethnicity data, 3.5% are multi-ethnic. 87.9% of members are of European descent, and 5.3% are of African descent. Members of Asian descent account for 5.1%, Latina/o descent totals 3.6%, and Native American, Alaska Native, or First Nation descent is 1.7%. Native Hawaiian or Oceanian descent is 0.2%.

Three percent of members state that they have an impairment that affects their participation in SBL functions, whether that is cognitive, emotional, or physical. Slightly less than three percent of members identify as a person with a disability.

Current students were mostly doctoral candidates (762 out of 1,167, or 65.3%). Master’s degree candidates constituted 24.0%, and undergraduate students less than three percent. Of the 4,804 members who had earned a doctorate degree, 1,559 provided the number of years of active study it took them to attain it. Divided into four groups, the group with the shortest time to degree took 1-5.5 years, the second group up to 10.5 years, the third up to 15.5 years, and the final group, which had the longest time to degree in terms of active years of study, took up to 20 years. The median of active years of study to earn the doctorate for all respondents was 10.5 years.


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