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Why there are fewer people in engineering in the U.S : Money

There have been all kinds of articles recently about how the United States is losing its scientific edge because fewer people are going into the sciences and engineering. There is a great deal of handwringing and people talking about the anti-intellectualism of our country, its poor schools, etc and all sorts of wild guesses as to why this is happening. Well India has plenty of anti-intellectualism, poor schools, etc but they are turning out a lot of engineers. The real reason is that being an engineer in the United States does not mean you're going to get rich relative to your real estate speculating condo flipping peers.

Let's look at some facts:

The International Herald Tribune says that the average wage for an experienced programmer in India is $11,423 a year. The average wage for an experienced programmer in the U.S is $83,000 a year. However the average per capita income in India is $3,100 and in the U.S it is $40,100. Per capita income is a good indicator of the relative cost level for people living in a particular country.

So the programmer vs average salary ratio in India is 3.684 while in the U.S it is 2.069. To feel as rich as an experienced Indian programmer an American Programmer would have to make $147,728.


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