In recent years, the Harvard Crimson has conducted an extensive survey of the incoming freshman class (roughly 2,000 individuals per year).
Some things have continued the same. Most use Apple products (75%). Most have never had mental health counseling (79%). Most are heterosexual (82%). Most are virgins (62%) and less than 10% have had more than two sexual partners. Most are the first in their extended family to ever attend Harvard (71%). Most identify as liberal (69%). The vast majority identify with their gender of birth (99.6%). The number of Mormons in any of the incoming classes is less than 1%. 1
Other factors are moving in interesting ways, however.
Whites are close to trading in “majority” status for “plurality” status. The Harvard Class of 2021 is only 52% White versus an estimated 61% non-hispanic whites in the general US population. This is largely due to the increasing representation of Asians (Asian Indians and other Asians), which has hovered around 30% 2 in contrast to the 5.7% of Asians in the general US population. Given that Asians self-report as White to avoid attempts to minimize the over-representation of Asians at elite universities, Whites in the Class of 2021 may already be plurality rather than majority.
The percentage of those reporting other than hetero-normal sexual orientation is increasing (looking at 2017 to 2021). While the combination of “questioning” and “other” has stayed level at about 4%, those reporting as homosexual have increased from 3.7% to 5.6%, an increase of 50%. 3 Meanwhile, those identifying as bisexual has increased from 2.5% to 7.8%, an increase of over 200%. 4 This correlates with the vast majority (87%) entering Harvard in 2018 who approve of same sex marriage.
It would be fascinating if BYU’s Daily Universe were to conduct a parallel survey.
- Of the Mormons participating in the surveys across all the years, it seems only one reported they weren’t a virgin as an incoming freshman. ↩
- 2021 class statistics don’t report any South Asian/Indian students, where prior years reported ~4% of the incoming student body from India. ↩
- Most self-reporting as homosexual are male. ↩
- Most self-reporting as bi-sexual are female. ↩