Bureau of Labor Statistics

Mathematicians and Statisticians

mathematicians image
Mathematicians and statisticians solve practical problems in fields such as business, government, engineering, and the sciences.
Quick Facts: Mathematicians and Statisticians
2020 Median Pay $93,290 per year
$44.85 per hour
Typical Entry-Level Education Master's degree
Work Experience in a Related Occupation None
On-the-job Training None
Number of Jobs, 2020 44,800
Job Outlook, 2020-30 33% (Much faster than average)
Employment Change, 2020-30 15,000

Summary

What Mathematicians and Statisticians Do

Mathematicians and statisticians analyze data and apply computational techniques to solve problems.

Work Environment

The top employers of mathematicians and statisticians are the federal government and scientific research and development companies. Mathematicians and statisticians may work on teams with engineers, scientists, and other specialists.

How to Become a Mathematician or Statistician

Mathematicians and statisticians typically need at least a master’s degree in mathematics or statistics. However, some positions are available to those with a bachelor’s degree.

Pay

The median annual wage for mathematicians was $110,860 in May 2020.

The median annual wage for statisticians was $92,270 in May 2020.

Job Outlook

Overall employment of mathematicians and statisticians is projected to grow 33 percent from 2020 to 2030, much faster than the average for all occupations.

About 5,200 openings for mathematicians and statisticians are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

State & Area Data

Explore resources for employment and wages by state and area for mathematicians and statisticians.

Similar Occupations

Compare the job duties, education, job growth, and pay of mathematicians and statisticians with similar occupations.

More Information, Including Links to O*NET

Learn more about mathematicians and statisticians by visiting additional resources, including O*NET, a source on key characteristics of workers and occupations.

What Mathematicians and Statisticians Do

Mathematicians
Mathematicians and statisticians work with formulas and data to help solve problems in industry, academia, and government.

Mathematicians and statisticians analyze data and apply computational techniques to solve problems.

Duties

Mathematicians and statisticians typically do the following:

  • Decide what data are needed to answer specific questions or problems
  • Apply mathematical theories and techniques to solve practical problems in business, engineering, the sciences, and other fields
  • Design surveys, experiments, or opinion polls to collect data 
  • Develop mathematical or statistical models to analyze data
  • Interpret data and communicate analyses to technical and nontechnical audiences
  • Use statistical software to analyze data and create visualizations to aid decision making in business

To solve problems, mathematicians rely on statisticians to design surveys, questionnaires, experiments, and opinion polls for collecting the data they need. For most surveys and opinion polls, statisticians gather data from some people in a particular group. Statisticians determine the type and size of this sample for collecting data in the survey or poll.

Following data collection is analysis, which involves mathematicians and statisticians using specialized statistical software. In their analyses, mathematicians and statisticians identify trends and relationships within the data. They also conduct tests to determine the data’s validity and to account for possible errors. Some help write software code to analyze data more accurately and efficiently.

Mathematicians and statisticians present findings from their analyses and discuss the data’s limitations in order to ensure accurate interpretation. They may present written reports, tables, and charts to team members, clients, and other users.

Mathematicians and statisticians work in any field that benefits from data analysis, including education, government, healthcare, and research and development.

Colleges and universities. Mathematicians and statisticians working in postsecondary schools may study theoretical or abstract concepts in these fields. They identify, research, and work to resolve unexplained issues in mathematics and explore mathematical or statistical theories to increase knowledge and understanding about the field.

Government. Mathematicians and statisticians working in government develop surveys and collect and analyze data on a variety of topics, including employment, crop production, and energy use. At all levels of government, these data help to inform policy proposals and decisions that affect the public.

HealthcareStatisticians known as biostatisticians or biometricians work in pharmaceutical companies, public health agencies, or hospitals. They may design studies to test whether drugs successfully treat diseases or medical conditions. They may also help identify the sources of outbreaks of illnesses in humans and animals.

Research and development. Mathematicians and statisticians design experiments for product testing and development. For example, they may help design experiments to see how car engines perform when exposed to extreme weather or analyze consumer data for use in developing marketing strategies. 

Typically, mathematicians and statisticians work on teams with other specialists to solve problems. For example, they may work with chemists, materials scientists, and chemical engineers to analyze the effectiveness of a new drug.

Work Environment

mathematicians image
Mathematicians and statisticians may work on teams with engineers and scientists.

Mathematicians held about 2,700 jobs in 2020. The largest employers of mathematicians were as follows:

Federal government 47%
Professional, scientific, and technical services 26
Colleges, universities, and professional schools; state, local, and private 17

Statisticians held about 42,000 jobs in 2020. The largest employers of statisticians were as follows:

Research and development in the physical, engineering, and life sciences 14%
Federal government 12
Healthcare and social assistance 9
Insurance carriers and related activities 8
Colleges, universities, and professional schools; state, local, and private 7

Mathematicians and statisticians typically work in offices. They also may work on teams with engineers, scientists, and other specialists.

Work Schedules

Most mathematicians and statisticians work full time. Deadlines and last-minute requests for data or analysis may require overtime. In addition, these workers may travel to attend seminars and conferences.

How to Become a Mathematician or Statistician

Mathematicians
Years of study are required to become a mathematician or statistician.

Mathematicians and statisticians typically need at least a master’s degree in mathematics or statistics. However, some positions are available to those with a bachelor’s degree.

Education

Students who are interested in becoming mathematicians or statisticians should take as many math courses as possible in high school.

For jobs with the federal government, candidates need at least a bachelor’s degree or significant coursework in mathematics. In private industry, mathematicians typically need either a master’s or a doctoral degree; statisticians typically need a master's degree, but some entry-level positions may accept candidates with a bachelor's degree.

Most colleges and universities have bachelor’s degree programs in mathematics. Courses usually include calculus, differential equations, and linear and abstract algebra. Mathematics students also commonly take courses in a related field, such as computer science, physics, or statistics.

Many universities offer master’s and doctoral degrees in theoretical or applied mathematics. Students who get a doctoral degree may work as professors of mathematics in a college or university.

Statisticians typically need a master’s degree, but some entry-level positions may accept candidates with a bachelor’s degree.

Students majoring in statistics also may take courses in another field, such as computer science, life sciences, or physical sciences. These courses may help prepare students to work in a variety of industries. For example, coursework in biology, chemistry, or health sciences is useful for testing pharmaceutical or agricultural products. Physics may be useful for statisticians working in manufacturing on quality improvement.

Advancement

Mathematicians and statisticians may advance to become senior mathematicians or statisticians or to work in other managerial roles. A master’s or doctoral degree may be required for some advancement opportunities.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Mathematicians and statisticians use mathematical techniques and models to evaluate large amounts of data.

Communication skills. Mathematicians and statisticians must be able to explain technical concepts and solutions in nontechnical ways.

Logical-thinking skills. Mathematicians and statisticians must understand and be able to use computer programming languages to design and develop models and to analyze data.

Math skills. Mathematicians and statisticians use statistics, calculus, and linear algebra to develop their models and analyses.

Problem-solving skills. Mathematicians and statisticians must devise solutions to problems encountered in science, engineering, and other fields.

Pay

Mathematicians and Statisticians

Median annual wages, May 2020

Mathematicians

$110,860

Mathematicians and statisticians

$93,290

Mathematical science occupations

$93,170

Statisticians

$92,270

Total, all occupations

$41,950

 

The median annual wage for mathematicians was $110,860 in May 2020. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $61,130, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $170,150.

The median annual wage for statisticians was $92,270 in May 2020. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $52,700, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $150,840.

In May 2020, the median annual wages for mathematicians in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Professional, scientific, and technical services $121,140
Federal government 116,410
Colleges, universities, and professional schools; state, local, and private 63,600

In May 2020, the median annual wages for statisticians in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Federal government $112,940
Research and development in the physical, engineering, and life sciences 102,370
Insurance carriers and related activities 88,450
Healthcare and social assistance 79,440
Colleges, universities, and professional schools; state, local, and private 77,920

Most mathematicians and statisticians work full time. Deadlines and last-minute requests for data or analysis may require overtime. In addition, these workers may travel to attend seminars and conferences.

Job Outlook

Mathematicians and Statisticians

Percent change in employment, projected 2020-30

Statisticians

35%

Mathematicians and statisticians

33%

Mathematical science occupations

28%

Total, all occupations

8%

Mathematicians

3%

 

Overall employment of mathematicians and statisticians is projected to grow 33 percent from 2020 to 2030, much faster than the average for all occupations.

About 5,200 openings for mathematicians and statisticians are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

Employment

Employment growth for statisticians is expected to result from more widespread use of statistical analysis to inform business, healthcare, and policy decisions. The amount of digitally stored data will increase over the next decade as more people and companies conduct business online and use social media, smartphones, and other mobile devices. As a result, businesses will increasingly need statisticians to analyze the large amount of information and data collected. Statistical analyses will help companies improve their business processes, design and develop new products, and advertise products to potential customers. 

Many of the new jobs for statisticians are expected to be in research and development, consulting, and computer systems design and related services.

Much of the employment growth for mathematicians is expected to be in research-based roles in academia, research and development, and consulting services.

Employment projections data for mathematicians and statisticians, 2020-30

SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program

Occupational Title

Mathematicians and statisticians

SOC Code
Employment, 202044,800
Projected Employment, 203059,700
Percent Change, 2020-3033
Numeric Change, 2020-3015,000
Employment by Industry
Occupational Title

Mathematicians

SOC Code15-2021
Employment, 20202,700
Projected Employment, 20302,800
Percent Change, 2020-303
Numeric Change, 2020-30100
Employment by IndustryGet data
Occupational Title

Statisticians

SOC Code15-2041
Employment, 202042,000
Projected Employment, 203056,900
Percent Change, 2020-3035
Numeric Change, 2020-3014,900
Employment by IndustryGet data

State & Area Data

Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS)

The Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) program produces employment and wage estimates annually for over 800 occupations. These estimates are available for the nation as a whole, for individual states, and for metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas. The link(s) below go to OES data maps for employment and wages by state and area.

Projections Central

Occupational employment projections are developed for all states by Labor Market Information (LMI) or individual state Employment Projections offices. All state projections data are available at www.projectionscentral.com. Information on this site allows projected employment growth for an occupation to be compared among states or to be compared within one state. In addition, states may produce projections for areas; there are links to each state’s websites where these data may be retrieved.

CareerOneStop

CareerOneStop includes hundreds of occupational profiles with data available by state and metro area. There are links in the left-hand side menu to compare occupational employment by state and occupational wages by local area or metro area. There is also a salary info tool to search for wages by zip code.

Similar Occupations

This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of mathematicians and statisticians.

Occupation Job Duties ENTRY-LEVEL EDUCATION 2020 MEDIAN PAY
Actuaries Actuaries

Actuaries use mathematics, statistics, and financial theory to analyze the financial costs of risk and uncertainty.

Bachelor's degree $111,030
Computer systems analysts Computer Systems Analysts

Computer systems analysts study an organization’s current computer systems and find a solution that is more efficient and effective.

Bachelor's degree $93,730
Financial analysts Financial Analysts

Financial analysts guide businesses and individuals in decisions about expending money to attain profit.

Bachelor's degree $83,660
Market research analysts Market Research Analysts

Market research analysts study market conditions to examine potential sales of a product or service.

Bachelor's degree $65,810
Operations research analysts Operations Research Analysts

Operations research analysts use advanced mathematical and analytical methods to help solve complex issues.

Bachelor's degree $86,200
Postsecondary teachers Postsecondary Teachers

Postsecondary teachers instruct students in a variety of academic subjects beyond the high school level.

See How to Become One $80,560
Survey researchers Survey Researchers

Survey researchers design and conduct surveys and analyze data.

Master's degree $59,870
Economists Economists

Economists collect and analyze data, research trends, and evaluate economic issues for resources, goods, and services.

Master's degree $108,350
Computer programmers Computer Programmers

Computer programmers write and test code that allows computer applications and software programs to function properly.

Bachelor's degree $89,190
Physicists and astronomers Physicists and Astronomers

Physicists and astronomers study the interactions of matter and energy.

Doctoral or professional degree $128,950

Contacts for More Info

For more information about mathematicians, including training, especially for doctoral-level employment, visit

American Mathematical Society

For more information about statisticians, visit

American Statistical Association

This is Statistics

For specific information on careers in applied mathematics, visit

Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics

For information on federal government requirements for mathematician positions, visit

U.S. Office of Personnel Management

CareerOneStop

For career videos on mathematicians and statisticians, visit

Mathematicians

Statisticians

O*NET

Biostatisticians

Mathematicians

Statisticians

Last Modified Date: Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Suggested citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Mathematicians and Statisticians,
at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/math/mathematicians-and-statisticians.htm (visited October 29, 2021).

Telephone: 1-202-691-5700 www.bls.gov/ooh Contact OOH

View this page on regular www.bls.gov

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