Submitting Campus

Daytona Beach

Student Status



College of Aviation

Advisor Name

Haydee M. Cuevas


Commercial aviation has grown rapidly since the 1950s yet racial diversity in the aviation workforce has showed little progress. To explore this issue, this archival study was conducted to examine the representation of Black individuals in aviation occupations and other specialized professions from 2009 to 2018. Data were obtained from the American Community Survey using Public Use Microdata Sample from the United States Census Bureau. The frequency count and percent were calculated each year for each occupation by race (White or Black). Five aviation occupations were selected for comparison: aircraft pilot and flight engineer; air traffic controller and airfield operations specialist; aerospace engineer; avionics technician; and aircraft mechanic and service technician. Four specialized training professions were compared to pilots: actuary; mechanical engineer; lawyer, judge, and magistrate; and physician. This study also quantified the percent change of Black pilots, compared to White pilots, across the 10-year time frame. Results highlighted a consistent lack of racial diversity across the aviation occupations and specialized training professions examined in this study. Percent change across the years was shown to be markedly erratic for Black pilots, while percent change for White pilots was relatively stable. Further research is warranted to investigate the underlying causes for this erratic trend. Findings from this archival study highlight a potential untapped resource for solving the labor shortage facing the entire aviation industry.

Document Type


Publication/Presentation Date


Included in

Aviation Commons