Senior House ranks high for underrepresented minorities, similar to New House in family income, new data show

East-side has 30 percentage points more non-heterosexual students than west campus

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Family income distribution by dorm, housing tier, and dining factors.
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Race and ethnicity breakdown by dorms in 2015-2016 compared to 2013-2014
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Percentage of non-heterosexual residents by dorm.
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71.9% of undergraduates live in the dorms — here's a dorm-by-dorm breakdown.

The Provost’s office recently released data detailing student demographics by residence hall including race, ethnicity, gender (data from the registrar); family income (data from student financial services), and sexual orientation (data from a question in the enrolled students survey which had a 58 percent response rate).  

In 2014, the Division of Student Life sent The Tech data from MIT Institutional Research using fall term 2013-2014 enrollment statistics detailing the race and ethnicity makeups of the dorms.

The 2015-2016 data sheds light on claims that recent decisions concerning Senior House will affect a disproportionately large population of marginalized students — particularly those that are underrepresented minorities, LGBTQ, or from low-income families.

The data shows that Senior House ranks second for percentage of residents that are underrepresented minorities. Senior House has similar proportions of non-heterosexual students as the other east-side dorms, East Campus and Random Hall; east-side overall has a higher proportion of non-heterosexual students than west campus, at about 39 percent compared to 9 percent.

The financial data on Senior House residents indicate that their family incomes lean moderately towards the lower end of the spectrum. However, the family income profile of Senior House is not noticeably different from the profiles of west campus dorms such as MacGregor and New House. Random Hall has the highest proportion of residents in the lowest income bracket, while East Campus has a similar profile to McCormick Hall and Next House.

Burton Conner has the least percentage of residents in the lowest income bracket and the greatest percentage of residents in the highest income bracket.

Race and ethnicity

According to the 2015-2016 dataset released by the Provost’s office, 24 percent of all dorm residents are underrepresented minorities (URM), as identified by registrar data. 83 percent of underrepresented minority students live in west campus dorms. 43.5 percent of New House and 36.6 percent of Senior House residents are URM students. Baker House and Random Hall have the lowest proportions of URM students, at 16 percent and 17 percent, respectively.

URM students are defined by the Provost’s office as Black/African-American, Hispanic/Latino, Native American/Alaska-Native, and Hawaiian/Pacific-Islander.

According to the 2013-2014 dataset, 24 percent of all dorm residents were URMs; 25 percent of residents in west campus dorms were URMs, and 19 percent of east-side dorms were URMs. New House had 40 percent URM, the highest of all 11 dorms, followed by Simmons at 35 percent. In this dataset, Senior House was the fourth most diverse dorm with a URM representation of 26 percent of residents. Random Hall and Baker House had the lowest proportions of minority students, at 14 percent and 15 percent, respectively.

Family income

The 2015-2016 data showed that tier 1, 2, and 3 dorms have a similar makeup with respect to family income. Tier 1 dorms are the most expensive housing options, with a double costing $4,710 this upcoming year. Tier 2 doubles will be $4,390, and tier 3 doubles will be $3,920.

Of the students who live in tier 3 housing, 27 percent reported a family income of less than $80,000, for tier 2 housing this number was 25 percent, and for tier 1, it was 24 percent. 15 percent of students living in tier 1 housing and 15 percent of students living in tier two housing report a family income of more than $200,000, in tier 3 housing, this number was 11 percent.

Income demographics were similar between dining and non-dining dorms as well. 26 percent of students living in a non-dining dorm reported a family income of less than $80,000, this number 24 percent for dining dorms. 15 percent of students in dining dorms reported a family income of more than $200,000, this number was 13 percent in non-dining dorms.

Across all dorms, 25.2 percent of residents reported a family income of less than $80,000; 18.9 percent reported a family income between $80,000 and $150,000; 10.2 percent reported an income between $150,000 and $200,000; 14.1 percent reported an income above $200,000; and 31.6 percent had an unknown income.

Sexual orientation

The average number of non-heterosexual students living in dorms is 14 percent. All east-side dorms had a significantly more than average representation of students who are non-heterosexual: Random had the highest representation at 40.8 percent, followed by Senior House at 40 percent, then East Campus at 38 percent. New House, at 16.1 percent, had slightly more non-heterosexual students than average, all other west-side dorms had less than average representation.

Colleen Madlinger contributed reporting.

Update 06/29/2017: The subhead of the article was changed to say “30 percentage points” instead of “30 percent” for clarification.

Update 01/07/2019: The link to the data was changed to be up-to-date.