Center for the Study of Practice
University of Cincinnati
Cincinnati, Ohio 45221-0016
Tel: 513-556-3413
Fax: 513-556-1203

Bradford C. Grant
Director
Department of Architecture
Hampton University
Hampton, Virginia 23668
Tel: 804-727-5440
Fax: 804-727-5084

Dennis Alan Mann
Professor of Architecture
College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning
University of Cincinnati
Cincinnati, Ohio 45221-0016
Tel: 513-556-0230
Fax: 513-556-3288

A research project partially supported by:
The AIA/College of Fellows
The Center for the Study of Practice
The University of Cincinnati
California State Polytechnic University

Introduction

The first Directory of African American Architects was prepared in 1991 by the authors of this research project. In it, 877 licensed African American architects were listed. Licensure was confirmed through rosters published by states (each state licenses architects within their jurisdiction). At that time the 877 African American architects represented slightly more than one percent of the 85,000 architects estimated by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) to be licensed in the United States. Additional African American architects have been added to this base as they have become licensed or when we are informed that they have been omitted from the first census. To date the second directory (published in April 1996) lists 1158 licensed African American architects. NCARB has estimated that today there are approximately 100,000 licensed architects. While there has been a significant increase in the number of African American architects since our first directory was published, the total percentage of African American architects still remains at slightly more than one percent. Are these architects an "endangered species" as Robert Traynham Coles feared when he described their plight in an editorial for Progressive Architecture in July of 1989? What is the current professional status of African American architects in comparison to others in the profession. Since little statistical data has been gathered on African American architects to date, it has not been possible to paint picture of how, as an under-represented minority in what is still considered a "white gentleman's profession," African American architects are doing. (see the Progressive Architecture article "A White Gentleman's Profession?"; November 1994)

When the first directory was sent to subscribers, a brief questionnaire was included. This simple and informal feedback instrument was intended to elicit important questions and issues that were of a concern to African American architects. They were asked to identify issues that were important to them for further research efforts that would be undertaken by the authors. Those who returned this questionnaire (101) were interested in knowing more about the following:

 

Number of African American architects in public service vs. private practice

Number of African American owned firms

Extent of glass ceiling with respect to African American architects in private firms

Number of African American architects in education and at which schools

A breakdown of owners, partners and employees as well as the percentage of African American architects who are partners in or who work in majority owned firms

Types of commissions that African American firms have been obtaining

What percentage of work have been joint venture projects and have those projects been successful

A breakdown in the type of projects undertaken by African American firms

Membership in professional organizations

Universities attended by African Americans

Age and Gender breakdown of African American architects

Salary/income survey in comparison to no African American architects

In addition to the above wish for more specific information and data, a number of respondents were interested in learning more about Black architects in practice outside of the United States; in having a bibliography of published works of African American architects; in finding our more about buildings designed and constructed by African American architects prior to the establishment of registration laws; and in knowing more about African Americans who hold professional degrees in architecture but who are now working in other fields. While these last questions are important, they lay outside of the scope of what we felt our survey might be able to accomplish. We invite others who might be interest in these questions in particular to help contribute to the growing body of knowledge about African American architects.

Finally, a number of people were interested in knowing more about the current status of the ""pipeline"-African American students in architecture school and African American intern architects. Although our survey did not directly address this question, the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) amasses statistics on the demographics of architecture students. These statistics are derived by annual reports submitted by the 103 accredited architecture degree programs in the United States. They show the following:

     
    1990-91
    1995-96
    Number of Full-Time (FT)
    architecture students
    (B Arch and M Arch)
    22,929
    21,742
     
    Number of FT
    African American students
    (B Arch and M Arch)
    1,332
    1,313
     
    Percent of African American
    students
    5.8
    6.0
     
    Number of graduates
    (B Arch and M Arch)
    5,064
    4,786
     
    Number of African American
    graduates (B Arch and M Arch)
    214
    182
     
    Percent of African American
    graduates
    4.2
    3.8

NAAB did not break down their statistics by ethnic groups prior to 1990. Before 1990 their only category, beside women, was "minority" which included African American, Hispanic American, Asian American and American Indian.

As a comparison to the 3.8 percent of African Americans who received architecture degrees last year, US medical schools graduated 970 African Americans or 6.2 percent (data from the American Association of Medical Colleges and reported in The Cincinnati Enquirer Feb. 26, 1996). The AAMC also reported that in 1990 (the AAMC derives their figures from census data) there were 586,715 physicians in the United States of whom 20,874 or 3.56 percent were African American.

Perhaps the most significant piece of data revealed by NAAB's 1995-96 statistics is that 45 percent of African American architecture students attend the seven historic Black universities with accredited architecture programs: Florida A&M, Hampton, Howard, Morgan State, Prairie View A&M, Southern, and Tuskegee. More dramatically put, this means that the seven historic Black schools currently have 589 African American architecture students enrolled while the 96 other schools have 724 African American students-an average of 7.5 students per school in the non-historic Black schools. This pattern is consistent for graduation as well with the historic Black universities accounting for 43 percent of African American architecture graduates.

Total number of African American Students in accredited professional programs.

Achieving licensure is yet another question. Most states require a minimum of a three year internship following graduation before candidates can sit for their examinations. We have not been able to uncover any data which has tracked graduates through to licensure to determine how many eventually achieve architectural registration. Anecdotal information from former students has shown that the length of time to licensure can be from three to ten years. After ten years we suspect that many graduates become discouraged, move into parallel fields like planning, interior design or construction, or change career paths altogether. The Center for the Study of Practice is currently undertaking a nationwide study to track 1996 graduates from schools of architecture and interior design.

Survey methodology

The informal questionnaires that were returned between 1991 and 1994 served as the basis for the more systematic survey that was carried out in 1995.

The goal of the 1995 survey was to examine the professional status of the African American architect with a focus on practitioners and on the state of their activities in practice.

A more comprehensive survey document was used to collect the data that is reported in this paper. An early sampling (40) of the survey was distributed at the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA) meeting in New York City in October 1994. The remainder of the surveys (700) were sent to all licensed African American architects listed in the Directory of African American Architects published in 1991 by the Center for the Study of Practice (CSP). These surveys were mailed between February and June 1995. Surveys were also sent to African American architects who were not listed in the 1991 directory (240) but whose names had been included in numerous addenda published by CSP. In total 980 surveys were sent out and 382 were returned (39 percent response rate). All participants were advised that their responses to the survey questions would remain anonymous. Only public information like name, place of employment, address, telephone and fax number, and state of registration would be used in the second edition of the Directory of African American Architects (published in April 1996 by CSP).

Organization of the survey

The survey was organized into the following sections:

Demographic Information

Age
Gender
Universities attended/Degrees granted

Professional Information

Employer/Name of Firm
Public Sector/Private Sector
Position in Organization
Type of Firm Ownership
Professional Affiliations

Description of Firm

Size
Number of African American employees
Scope of Work
Type of Clients
Joint Venture Data
Salary/Income

 

Statistical summary & comments

 

1. Number of licensed African American architects: 1158

This number has been established by confirming licensure by exam-ining State Boards of Architect's registration rosters or calling state boards. We estimate that this number might represent 90 to 95 percent of licensed African American architects. Some architects allow their licenses to lapse by not paying their annual license fee. Therefore they do not appear on state rosters. This might especially be true for someone who has originally been licensed but changed fields. Additional remarks on our process of confirmation can be found in the introduction to the 1996 edition of The Directory of African American Architects (available from The Center for the Study of Practice; DAAP; ML 0016; University of Cincinnati; OH: 45221-0016.

 

2. Number of surveys distributed: 980

The difference between the number of surveys distributed and the number of licensed architects listed above are

a. new additions to licensed architects since the survey was distributed

b. old or incomplete addresses (surveys returned)

 

3. Number of African American architects responding: 382

a. 39 percent return rate

California State Polytechnic University's statistics consultant found the return rate to be good and found no statistical inconsistencies with this survey.

 

4. Gender

    Total Number
    African American
    architects
    AIA statistics (4/96)
    CSP Survey
    (1996 Directory)
    All ethnic groups
    -
    Male
    347
    90.84%
    1073
    92.66%
    39,229
    91.60%
    Female
    35
    9.16%
    85
    7.34%
    35,590
    8.40%

The entrance of women in significant numbers into the field of architecture has occurred only in the last twenty years. NAAB statistics show that in 1993-94 26 percent of the graduates receiving B.Arch degrees were women and 33 percent who received M Arch degrees were women. Accredited B. Arch and M. Arch programs currently report that 30 to 35 percent of their students are women. In addition, AIA statistics show an increase of 35 percent in women members between 1990 and 1995. This data suggests that not only is the percentage of women graduates from accredited architecture programs increasing but also their movement into licensure is increasing.

This may not be true, though, for African American women. Our 1996 Directory of African American Architects has confirmed that only 85 African American women are licensed. This makes African American women architects one of the most under-represented groups in the profession. We have no data on the number of African American women currently enrolled in accredited architecture programs to be able to predict whether or not this dismally small number might increase in the near future.

 

5. Age: 380 responses

    Age
    CSP Survey
    AIA Statistics
    -
    20-30
    4
    1.05%
    Under 35
    17%
    31-40
    107
    28.16%
    35-49
    54%
    41-50
    138
    36.32%
    50-64
    25%
    51-60
    67
    17.63%
    65 and up
    4%
    61-70
    49
    12.89%
    71 +
    13
    3.42%
    No answer
    2
    0.53%

 

Sixty four percent of the respondents to the survey are between 31 and 50 years old, (usually considered beginning to mid-career level for ages of architects). The age distribution of the African American architect is within ten percent of AIA statistics (this seems acceptable since the age categories are slightly different).

 

6. College degrees: 384 responses (see note below)

    Non Professional Degrees
    10.41%
    No Degree
    11
    2.86%
    Non-Professional Baccalaureate
    29
    7.55%
    -
    Professional Degree
    89.59%
    BA/BS/B.Arch
    25
    6.51%
    B.Architecture only
    155
    40.36%
    B.Arch./M.Arch II
    47
    12.24%
    BA/BS/M.Arch I
    76
    19.79%
    B. Arch/MCP/MRP or M Urb Des
    25
    6.51%
    B. Arch/MBA
    8
    2.08%
    B. Arch/other area Masters
    4
    1.04%
    -
    Phd
    2
    0.52%
    JD
    2
    0.52%
    -
    Level of Degree
    Bachelors Degrees
    209
    56.00%
    Masters Degrees
    160
    42.90%
    Doctorate
    4
    1.10%

We have no national data that illustrates the level of degrees held by architects. Some accredited schools of architecture offer undergraduate B. Arch degrees as the first professional degree while others offer the M. Arch I as the first professional degree (see BA/BS/M Arch I above).

We do find it noteworthy that 44 percent of respondents to our survey hold Masters degrees and 24 percent hold post professional degrees.

Note: The M Arch I degree is considered a first professional degree at schools with four + two programs and schools with three year graduate programs that require a BA degree for entry. The M Arch II degree is designed for people with an undergraduate professional degree who choose to return to the university for further study.

 

7. Institutions granting degrees First professional degree (B. Arch or M. Arch 1)
(List includes only those institutions granting degrees to 5 or more African Americans)

    Total number of first Prof. degrees
    296
    -
    Howard University
    60
    Tuskegee University
    19
    Hampton University
    15
    Univ. of Illinois/Champ.-Urbana
    14
    Univ. of Calif/Berkeley
    11
    Southern University
    10
    Columbia University
    10
    University of Michigan
    10
    MIT
    10
    Pratt
    9
    Calif. Polytechnic State Univ./SLO
    7
    IIT
    6
    University of Detroit
    6
    Kansas State University
    6
    University of S. California
    6
    Florida A&M University
    5
    Harvard University
    5
    Kent State University
    5
    University of Illinois/Chicago
    5
    University of Texas
    5
    55 Universities with 4 or fewer
    Degrees from Historic Black Universities
    109
    36.8%

We felt that it was significant that 36.8 percent of first professional degrees granted to African American architects who responded to our survey were granted by historic Black universities. This finding is supported by our earlier notation that 45 percent of African American architecture students attend the historic Black universities and in 1995 43 percent received their professional degrees from those schools. In a separate study conducted for Howard University we learned that 224 of the 1158 African American architects who we list in our directory (19.34 percent) have their first professional degree from Howard. Among our survey respondents degrees from the historic Black universities came from Howard, Tuskegee, Hampton, Southern and Florida A&M.

There are many questions that this finding leaves unanswered. Why do such a high percentage of African American students attend the historic Black universities to study architecture? Are these universities more accessible to the geographic areas where many of these students live? Perhaps, yet Howard and Catholic Universities are in Washington DC, Hampton and Virginia Polytechnic are in Virginia, Tuskegee and Auburn are in Alabama, and Southern and Louisiana State are in Louisiana. NAAB"s 1995 statistics show that African Americans make up an average of 2.8 percent of the architecture students at Catholic, VPI, Auburn, and Louisiana State. Are the Black universities more affordable? Do they provide more extensive academic and financial support? Do African American students prefer a Black university experience? Additional research might begin to address these questions.

Currently Dr. Raymond Dalton, Executive Director of the Office of Minority Educational Affairs at Cornell University is undertaking a new survey to assess the participation of African American students in undergraduate accredited architecture programs. He is seeking current data on the preparation of this minority group within those programs. The results of this survey, a follow up to a 1984-87 study that Dr. Dalton conducted, should cast some new light on a more reliable, comprehensive view of African American student performance and support and might uncover some of the answers to the questions listed above.

 

8. Institutions granting Masters degrees First and/or second Prof. degrees (M Arch I or M. Arch II)

    Univ. of Calif/Berkeley
    15
    MIT
    15
    Columbia University
    14
    Harvard University
    14
    Univ. of Illinois/Champ.-Urbana
    9
    University of Michigan
    8
    Tuskegee University
    6
    Howard University
    5
    -
    54 Universities with 4 or fewer

As we have illustrated above, nearly all of the predominately white schools of architecture continue to demonstrate a weak matriculation rate of African American students into their programs. Nevertheless, the largest numbers of African American architects responding to our survey have received their graduate degrees from prestigious programs. While all programs except the University of Illinois and Tuskegee are in or near large metropolitan areas with a significant African American population, most of their programs draw students from a national and international pool. In the case of these schools we feel safe in hypothesizing that it is the excellence of their programs and the reputation of their faculty, along with generous scholarship support, that draws students to them. Current NAAB statistics point out that in 1995-96 4.45 percent (35 out of 787) students in the top four programs listed above were African American and in 1995 2.6 percent (6 out of 229) graduates from these four programs were African American. In all NAAB reported that 32 African Americans received a M Arch I or a M Arch II in 1995.

 

9. General professional description: 398 responses

    Owner
    221
    55-53%
    Private Sector Employee
    79
    19.85%
    Public Sector Employee
    69
    17.37%
    Full time Faculty
    15
    3.77%
    Retired
    13
    3.27%
    Unemployed
    1
    -

AIA statistics note that there are 15,000 firms owned by AIA members. There are currently about 45,000 regular meOwner 221 55-53% mbers (to be a regular AIA member you must be a licensed architect). This means that approximately 33 percent of AIA members are firm owners. Our survey revealed that 55.5 percent of African American architects are firm owners. The higher percentage of ownership among African American architects might hint at the existence of a glass ceiling in majority owned firms where the route to ownership or partnership might be less possible for the African American architect. While we would need to survey African American firm owners to specifically target this issue, the next question below adds additional credence to this hypothesis.

 

10. Ownership: 221 responses

    100% African American Owned
    190
    86.01%
    Joint Afr/American/White/Other
    23
    10.41%
    Majority Owned
    8
    3.58%
    Female Owned
    10
    Female/Male Owned
    2

The Responses to this question made it dramatically clear that an extremely large majority of African American firms are 100 percent African American owned. These statistics demonstrate that there are relatively few African Americans who are in ownership capacity in either joint owned or in majority owned firms. While anecdotal information over the past six years has suggested to us that the architecture profession was very segregated, these results seem to confirm that segregation in ownership is a fact.

Ownership distribution among owners/partners.

 

11. Types of ownership (Owners tabulated only): 212

    Corporation
    128
    60.38%
    Proprietorship
    70
    33.02%
    Partnership
    14
    6.60%

African American firm organization differs significantly from AIA member firms. The AIA member firms have a concentration of small firms organized as proprietorships (52 percent) with the larger firms more likely to be organized as corporations (40 percent). Like African American firms, the smallest percentage of AIA firms are partnerships (7 percent).

 

12. Where private sector employees work

    African American Owned Firms
    19
    At minority Owned Firms
    6
    At Majority Owned Firms
    41
    At Non Profits
    13

Note: See Question #9 above where in addition to the 79 people listed above an additional 98 people were either employed in the public sector (69), full time faculty members (15), retired (13) or unemployed (1).

We find that it is significant that only 44.5 percent of African American architects surveyed are non-owners. Among African American owned firms the median number of employees is 5 to 9. A larger percentage (55.5 percent) of African American architects are firm owners. This may be explained by the many frustrations and difficulties that the African American architect faces due to a "glass ceiling" and to race-related incidents that they experienced while working in majority owned firms or while attending predominantly white schools of architecture. We can only hypothesize at this point that many African American owners left other firms and founded their own firms as a means of having more control over what they perceived as a racially based and limiting professional environment under which they were employed. The very small number of African American senior partners in majority owned firms hints at this hypothesis (we know of no more than ten senior partners nationwide-eight of whom responded to our survey).

 

13. Professional affiliations: 380 responses

    FAIA
    29
    7.63%
    AIA
    262
    68.95%
    NCARB
    159
    41.84%
    NOMA
    182
    47.89%
    CSI
    48
    12.63%
    Other
    72
    18.95%

     

    1990
    1995
    -
    AIA Regular Members
    43,493
    43,219
    African American AIA Members
    344
    429
    Percentage of Afr. Amer. Members
    0.79%
    0.99%

     

14. General description of organization 445 responses

    Architecture
    160
    35.7%
    Architecture/Engineering
    44
    9.8%
    Engineering/Architecture
    11
    2.5%
    Architecture/Interior Design
    56
    12.5%
    Interior Design/Space Planning
    3
    1.1%
    Architecture/Urban Design
    42
    9.4%
    Engineering
    1
    0.2%
    Construction
    6
    1.3%
    Developer
    10
    2.2%
    Gov't/Public Agency
    60
    13.4%
    Educator
    6
    1.3%
    Other
    37
    8.3%
    Not Applicable/Retired
    9
    2.0%

 

15. Total number of employees including principals
(Private sector firms only/No duplication of firms)

    Total number
    CSP Survey
    AIA
    of employees
    -
    1
    19
    7.6%
    31%
    2-4
    51
    19.7%
    35%
    5-9
    67
    20.9%
    20%
    10-19
    43
    17.3%
    8%
    20-29
    17
    6.8%
    (20+) 6%
    30-49
    22
    8.8%
    50-74
    8
    3.2%
    75-79
    7
    2.8%
    100 +
    15
    6.0%

African American architects are somewhat evenly distributed between working at (or owning) smaller firms (1-9 employees at about 48 percent) and working at (or owning) mid size to larger firms (10-100+ employees at 42 percent). The larger firms (majority owned) are not the largest employers of African American architects. A majority of AIA firms (86 percent) have nine or fewer employees.

 

16. Number of African American employees including principals
(Private sector firms only/No duplication of firms)

    Total number of
    CSP Survey
    Afr. Am. employees
    -
    1
    55
    22.4%
    2-4
    106
    43.1%
    5-9
    48
    19.5%
    10-19
    28
    11.4%
    20-29
    6
    2.4%
    30-49
    3
    1.2%
    50-74
    0
    -
    75-79
    0
    -
    100 +
    0
    -

The majority of African American architects work in firms with only a small number of African American employees (1-9). Twenty two percent of African American architects are the only Black employee in the firm. This could possibly set the stage for an uncomfortable work place environment for the lone Black architect.

 

17. Age of African American owned firms (Owners only, no duplications)

    CSP Survey
    AIA
    -
    5 years or less
    46
    24.0%
    11%
    5-10 years
    22
    11.5%
    13%
    10-15 years
    42
    21.9%
    17%
    15-20 years
    14
    7.3%
    13%
    20-25 years
    21
    11.0%
    9%
    25 years+
    43
    22.5%
    22%
    Did not Answer
    3
    1.6%
    -

Given the relatively (last twenty five years) recent emergence of African American owned firms into the private sector we were not surprised to find that while 44 percent of AIA firms have been in existence longer than fifteen years only 26.5 percent of African American firms have been in existence for the same period of time.

    15 years or less
    15 years or more
    -
    AIA
    41.0%
    44.0%
    African American
    57.4%
    40.89%

 

18. Geographical Scope of Work
(African American owned firms only /No duplications)

    # of Survey responses
    AIA
    -
    Single State
    70
    33.0%
    52%
    Regional
    82
    38.7%
    40%
    National
    35
    16.5%
    5%
    International
    23
    10.9%
    3%
    N/A
    2
    1.0%
    -

African American architects are involved in national and international practices at a higher rate that AIA firms. We hypothesize from anecdotal evidence that the relatively small number of average to large African American firms combined with emerging development in Africa, the Caribbean and South America have prompted these firms to seek work in the international arena at a higher rate than AIA firms.

 

19. Percentage of billings (Private contracts vs. Public contracts: Owners only)

    % of Billing
    private contracts
    public contracts
    -
    0-25%
    91
    32.7%
    44
    36.8%
    26-50%
    69
    24.8%
    61
    17.0%
    51-75
    43
    15.5%
    58
    23.6%
    76-100%
    75
    27.0%
    95
    22.4%

 

20. Percentage of clients who are African American
(Responses tallied from African American owners only)

    % of clients who are
    African American
    number of respondents
    -
    0-25%
    124
    58.5%
    26-50%
    25
    11.8%
    51-75%
    40
    18.9%
    76-100%
    23
    11.3%

 

21. Percentage of firm's work that was a joint venture with a majority architectural firm
(Responses tallied from African American owners only)

    % of work
    number of respondents
    -
    0-25%
    159
    75.0%
    26-50%
    29
    13.7%
    51-75%
    9
    4.2%
    76-100%
    3
    1.4%
    no response
    12
    5.7%

The overwhelming conclusion to this query is that there is a very small amount of joint venturing between African American firms and majority owned firms. Although we neglected to include a "zero percentage" in our questionnaire, seventeen respondents wrote in zero. We suspect that many of the "25 percent or less" might have written in zero had it been a choice. This, of course, is only a hypothesis on our part. We will pursue this in the next survey.

 

22. Percentage of your firm's work with a majority firm in which your firm was the prime partner
(Owners only tabulated)

    % of work
    number of respondents
    -
    0-25%
    92
    43.4%
    26-50%
    52
    24.5%
    51-75%
    30
    14.2%
    76-100%
    20
    9.4%
    no response
    18
    8.5%

The majority of the African American firms that responded to the "Fifty percent or more" choice were the larger firms that had been in existence for more than twenty years. At the other extreme. those firms that replied "Never" were the smaller firms that had been in practice for ten years or less.

 

23. Salary breakdown/Averages

    Partners: (191)
    Average Salary: $66,413
    -
    $20-25,000
    6
    $25-30,000
    3
    $30-35,000
    15
    $35-40,000
    2
    $40-45,000
    19
    $45-50,000
    13
    $50-60,000
    32
    $60-75,000
    2
    $75-100,000
    35
    $100,000 +
    37

 

    Private sector employees: (65)
    Average Salary: $47,846
    -
    $25-30,000
    1
    $30-35,000
    7
    $35-40,000
    9
    $40-45,000
    12
    $45-50,000
    14
    $50-60,000
    13
    $60-75,000
    8
    $75,000 +
    1

 

    Public sector employees: (71)
    Average Salary: $64,746
    -
    $25-30,000
    0
    $30-35,000
    2
    $35-40,000
    1
    $40-45,000
    10
    $45-50,000
    7
    $50-60,000
    13
    $60-75,000
    17
    $75-100,000
    18
    $100,000 +
    3

Architectural Record reported in September 1995 on an annual survey of principals' (Partners) salaries. The survey was conducted by Zweig White and Associates and was titled "Principals' Survey of A/E/P & Environmental Consulting Firms". Their results revealed that the salaries of principals of architecture-only firms averaged $80,000. Question #14 above indicates that most of the practitioners who returned our survey could be classified as architecture-only firms. Progressive Architecture also reported on salaries in an article entitled "Who Makes What" in December 1995.

Among their data was a bar graph comparing average partner's salaries for architects, engineers and lawyers. The data for architects was drawn from the AIA. In this illustration average partner's salaries were listed as $59,300. On the same page (p.50) was another chart. The source for this chart was the Management Design Survey for California Architectural Firms. This chart put the average salary for a managing principal at $90,000. A comprehensive salary comparison is not an easy task to carry out. While the average size architectural firm is from 5 to 9 employees, some are as small as one to two people and others have over 100 employees. It is important to note that 37 percent of the principals' salaries of African American owned firms shown above are over $75,000. As we might have expected, the majority of these are salaries of architects who have been in practice for more than twenty years and have well established, highly regarded practices.

The average starting salary for architects continues to be low, especially when compared to starting salaries in engineering. The Center for the Study of Practice at the University of Cincinnati reported in their annual hiring and salary survey that the mean starting salary for architects was $22,125. This compares to $35,350 for engineers as reported by the American Association of Engineering Societies.

 

notes

1. At the time that the surveys were mailed (Feb-May 1995) we listed
1060 licensed African American architects. Since that time 115
new names have been added to our master list.
2. To be listed requires registration in at least one of the fifty states,
Puerto Rico or the US Virgin Islands.
3. Our total may not represent 100% of licensed African American architects.
4. AIA statistics from The Architecture Fact Book; 1994 Edition published by
The American Institute of Architects: Washington D.C.
5. The number of responses to each question varied. Some questions
were left blank while others had two answers if both answers applied