The ninth edition of the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards’ (NCARB) annual report has been released, in the midst of new challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic, highlighting major information about the architecture profession in 2019. Focusing on different parameters, such as licensing, education, experience, and demographics, the study explores the evolution and transformation of the field, encompassing also findings on equity, diversity, and inclusion.
The publication, based on information gathered at the end of 2019, “demonstrates growth and positive evolution”. In fact, a noticeable increase is spotted in the number of U.S.-licensed architects as well as in diversity and gender parity at many career stages. On another hand, a slight decrease has been observed in the time it takes to earn an architecture license. In the latest report, NCARB has also explored new metrics such as race and gender representation at various career stages. Offering insight into the evolution of architectural licensure, this year’s 2020 NCARB by the Numbers also features first results from a survey on equity, diversity, and inclusion in licensure conducted in partnership with the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA). For the full study, check the official website.
According to the study, the number of architects in the U.S. increased to reach a total of 116,000 licensed practitioners at the start of 2020. Regarding architecture education, 82 percent of all licensure candidates in 2019 received their degree from a school accredited by NAAB.
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Reaching an all-time high number, 26,000 students were enrolled in a NAAB-accredited program, with 51 percent men, and 49 percent women. Speaking of gender parity, in 2019, 53 percent of new graduates were men and 47 percent women, and 35 percent of new NCARB certificate holders were women, the same as in 2018. In addition, non-white candidates comprised 16 percent of new NCARB certificate holders. The 2020 report showed more detailed demographic information, concluding that fewer than two in five architects are women, and fewer than one in five is racial or ethnic minorities.
For this year’s report, NCARB partnered with the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA) to conduct a joint survey “exploring candidates’ experiences while pursuing licensure, to assess whether there are impediments and pinch points that disproportionally affect minorities and other underrepresented groups”. They received over 5,000 complete responses, with 2,300 of the responses from people of color, and nearly 2,500 were from women. The results highlight “disparity throughout the licensure process and in firm culture. While all people of color—especially women of color—are impacted by these disparities in some ways, African Americans report challenges at nearly every stage”.