AA architects by the numbers


I have been chatting by email with Dennis Mann, one of the editors of the Directory of African American Architects, about ways to give a historical view of the numbers. Currently the website list all of the African American architects licensed in the US. Personally, I was curious about the trends of the numbers: what years did the most architects get licensed? what caused the trend? are we doing any better in 2010 than we did in 2000? etc.

So Dennis sent me some of his data and I created these charts.

As you can see in the first graph there is definitely upward movement. However the second chart shows that, In the last 20 years, in some years 80 architects were licensed, while in other years barely 20 were licensed. I am sure there are many reasons for this. I hope to talk more with Dennis and other architect about this and chart some more of the data collected. What do you think?


6 Responses to “AA architects by the numbers”

  1. 1 Yee

    My theory is when the economy is good – more people go out to work than to study/go to school. Is the trend the same for other groups?

    • I don’t know. By other groups do you mean other ethnic groups or other professions? Architects haven’t been good at tracking licensure in detail on a national basis because it happens at the state level. I was curious so I looked at the data for one small segment. I don’t know if there are 50-60 yr snapshots for others.

      also, one reason, I am guessing, for an increase last year is that the exam was being updated. Anyone who hadn’t finished, had to transition to a new exam format.

  2. Perfect Katherine. It looks great. I’ll be closely following the comments. But
    without any firm data I agree with Yee. The ARE five year “rolling clock” and
    the horrible economy has given people an opportunity to study and take the test.
    But we also have lost a generation of architects to other fields because of so many layoffs in the “architecture business.”

  3. 4 Andrew Thompson NOMA AIA

    Hi Katherine, this is great and I think this graphic data should be sent to the masses. Over the years I have just 1%, 2% but I have never seen a graph. This is great data to get out to the masses. Hopefully it can be printed along with an article in the next NOMA magazine. It would also be good to put the word out to chapters about this data to tell them to get opn the bandwagon. Dennis we have also been losing architects by just “age and time”. Quite a few in the NY region have passed away and I wonder how those numbers are going to be reflected amongst current numbers.

    • Thanks Andrew. It really came from my curiosity, maybe geeky desire to analyze the numbers, and some conversations around ideas for the magazine looking at the rise of AA firms in the 1970s.

  4. Andrew-

    I’d appreciate knowing of anyone who has passed in order
    to keep our data accurate and to add them to the “In Memory”



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