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Published: February 2021

Computer Science Diversity

Access to computer science education is not evenly distributed by race. This is a contributing factor to diversity gaps in our technology workforce.

One way to visualize this is to look at Advanced Placement (AP) courses. Specifically, the AP Computer Science A course which teaches Java programming. Black students who take the end-of-year exam in the US are 7 times more likely to major in computer science in college, yet are significantly underrepresented in participation. 

AP CS participation by race/ethnicity (US)

9 to 12th Grade Student Demographics Overall % of Students % of Students Taking AP CS Exam
Black/African American 14.7 3.5
Hispanic/Latino/Latina 24.6 11.1
Native Amer./Alaskan 1.1 0.3
Native Hawaiian/Pacific Is. 0.4 0.1
Asian 5.3 33.5
White 50.0 42.0
2 or more races 3.5 9.5

Rounded to the nearest tenth of a percent.

Bonus: Today Amazon and announced they are teaming up to create a new equity-minded AP Computer Science A curriculum to help close the equity gap for students from underrepresented groups in tech. Read more:

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