Majority of Freshmen at Harvard Identify as Non-White: Harvard Crimson

“College is not a stop on the way to the rest of your life. This is your life," Danoff Dean of Harvard College Rakesh Khurana told the Class of 2022. Jon Chase/Harvared Staff Photographer

CAMBRIDGE, MA–The Harvard Crimson’s annual freshman survey this year reveals that a majority of respondents identify as non-white at Harvard University.

“As Harvard prepares to make the case for race-conscious admissions and a diverse student body on a national stage, more than half of surveyed freshmen setting foot on campus this fall identify as non-white,” reported The Harvard Crimson’s annual survey of incoming students. “It is the first time more than 50 percent of respondents have identified as non-white since The Crimson began surveying freshman matriculants in 2013.”

The Crimson said that not all students responded to the survey — though more than 60 percent of the Class of 2022 did so — and it is not the first time that Harvard’s pool of admitted students is majority non-white. That milestone came in 2016.

“In the survey, incoming freshmen of color were more likely to report being the first person in their family to attend college than were freshmen who identified as white,” The Crimson reported. “White-identifying students were more than 50 percent more likely to report a combined family income of $250,000 per year than were black students.”

Here are more details from the survey as reported by The Crimson:

In line with the trends of previous years, much of the freshman class is wealthy, white, and straight — and hails from the country’s coasts.

Of survey respondents, 49.8 percent identified as women, 49.4 percent as male, and 0.6 percent as non-binary. About 0.7 percent identified as transgender.

  • Of respondents who answered a question asking about their ethnicity, 46 percent said they are white, 18.1 percent of surveyed students identified as Asian, 14.3 percent as multiracial, 10.7 percent as Black or African American, 6.5 percent as Hispanic or Latino, 3.8 percent as South Asian, 0.6 percent as American Indian or Alaska Native, and 0.1 percent as Pacific Islander. That makes a total of 51 percent of respondents who identified as non-white.
  • 81.6 percent of students surveyed said they identify as straight, 7.6 percent as bisexual, 5.4 percent as gay or lesbian, and 0.7 percent queer. Roughly 3 percent indicated that they are questioning their sexual orientation.

“Like you, I’ve recently moved into Harvard Yard,” President Larry Bacow told first-year students at Monday’s convocation. “Like you, I’ve arrived here in the hope that I can make a unique contribution.”
Jon Chase/Harvard Staff Photographer

A plurality of surveyed members of the Class of 2022 reported being raised on the East or West coasts, with 42.2 percent hailing from the Northeast and 16.0 percent from the West. The Southwestern states — Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and Oklahoma — sent the lowest percentage of students (7.1 percent) to Harvard this year.

  • Twelve percent of surveyed students reported hailing from outside the United States, almost identical to the 12.4 percent of last year’s respondents who did so.
  • The percentage of students who reported coming from rural, suburban, and urban areas also remained consistent with the previous year. Around 10.4 percent of surveyed freshman said they hail from rural areas, while the majority — 61.1 percent — said they live in suburban areas. Roughly 30 percent of freshmen said they come from urban areas.

White students were more likely than were students belonging to any other demographic to report an annual income above $250,000. About 33.5 percent of white freshmen did so. A much smaller percentage of admits of color — 21.6 percent of black students, 18.9 percent of Hispanic/Latinx students, and 19.7 percent of Asian students — reported a combined family income above that level.

Income levels also appeared to correlate with legacy status. Over a third — 36.3 percent — of students with one or more parent who attended Harvard said they come from a family with a combined income of $500,000 or more.

A record-low 4.59 percent of 42,749 applicants earned acceptance to the Class of 2022 in the most competitive admissions cycle in Harvard history. It was the first time the school’s overall acceptance rate dropped below 5 percent and the fourth consecutive year that this number has decreased from the year before.


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