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AP Statistics Sustains Strong Growth in 2013 [Chart updated through 2015]

By Steve Pierson posted 10-04-2013 10:05


[Update 6/28/16: 2016 expected to top 207,000. Official numbers out in the fall. 

 6/3/16: This ITIF report on computer science education shows in Figure 3 that statistics is the 3rd most popular science and math AP exam as of 2015. Relatedly, Figure 4 shows that percentage of high school students taking statistics hit 10% in 2010. 

10/6/15: graph updated with official 2015 AP Statistics and Calculus AB data from and

10/17/14 update: graph updated with official 2014 data: &]

The 2013 number for AP Statistics has just been released by the College Board and shows continued robust growth, with an increase of almost 17,000 (11%) over the 2012 number. The percentage increase is in line with the average annual increase of 12% since 2003. See figure below.

The figure also reveals that AP Statistics matches the growth of the AP Calculus AB exam with a lag of about ten years. The gap between the two exams has remained fairly steady since 1997 when the AP Statistics exam was first offered, growing slightly from about 104,000 in 1997 to 113,000 in 2013. For a snapshot comparison other math/science AP exams, the numbers in 2012 follow:

      Statistics    CalcAB     CalcBC    CompSci    PhysicsB   PhysicsC Mech
   2012      152,750  266,994    94,403    26,103    80,584       38,630

For a graph of the AP Statistics, Calculus AB and Calculus BC for 1955-2004, see this College Board website graph.

See also these recent articles on AP Statistics from Amstat News: For data on growth in degrees and postdocs:

[10/15/13 addition to this blog entry: Based on a Twitter question about the demographics, here are the percentages of exam takers that are female (  

    % of exam
takers female
 Stats    CalcAB     CalcBC    CompSci    PhysicsB   Chemistry  Biology
             2012     52%     49%     41%     19%     35%     47%     59%

For race/ethnicity of the 2012 AP Statistics exam takers, 61% were white; 17% Asian/Asian American/Pacific Islander; 11% Hispanic/Latino; 6.5% Black/African American. The total number of AP exams for 2012 in this reference is less than reported in the figure above, which I assume is because it is U.S. only.]

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