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Math: The Most Important Subject in School?


If you ask Americans what the most important subject was that they studied in school, they’re most likely to answer “math”. While that may be the most popular answer, the value Americans place on math varies based on both gender and education.

Men vs. Women
When men and women are asked what subject was “the most valuable subject studied in school”, they answer differently. Men are most likely to say that math was their most valuable subject, while women will answer that English/Literature/Reading was the most valuable.

Men and women disagree on other subjects, as well. Science (including biology and physics) took second place and English (including literature and reading) took third place among men. Women, however, ranked math second and science third.

This, of course, begs the question: Why is math more valuable to men than to women? Is it because more men pursue careers that utilize mathematics? Or maybe men are intuitively more inclined to value a quantitative subject more highly than a qualitative one?

High School, College, or More
A fascinating result of the study, which was conducted in 2013 by Gallup, is that as educational attainment increases, poll takers said math was less valuable and English was more valuable.

For example: Of survey respondents who had a high school education (or less), 43% said math was their most valuable subject. The percentage respondents who had gone on to earn post-graduate degrees and who felt that math was their most valuable subject dropped to 19%.

The reverse is true for English: Only 19% of respondents who held high school diplomas or less valued English as their most valuable subject in school while 25% of respondents with post-graduate degrees said that English was their most valuable subject.

What do you think? Is math the most important you learned in school or that your kids are learning right now? Leave a comment – we’d love to know what you think!

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