2011 Top Ten: 6. The future is crowded with PhDs

The number of doctorate degrees awarded in the United States has risen for six straight years, reaching record 48,802 in 2008, according to the National Science Foundation's Survey of Earned Doctorates. One-third of these degrees (33.1%) went to temporary visa holders, up from 23.3% in 1998. Science and engineering doctorates have increased by more than 20% in the past decade and by 3.2% from 2007 to 2008. Computer science had the largest rate of increase (7.9% in 2007-2008 and nearly double in the past decade).

In contrast, doctorates in non-science and engineering fields have declined, particularly the humanities (down 7.1%) One exception is education, which awarded 2.1% more doctorates in 2008 than in 2007.