Launched in March 2013, the National Census of Writing (NCW) seeks to provide a data-based landscape of writing instruction at two- and four-year public and not-for-profit institutions of higher education in the United States. Despite numerous calls for empirical data to ground the design and administration of writing programs and writing centers, the 2013 edition of the Census was the first comprehensive study of its kind.

Building on the success of the first iteration of the Census, this second edition uses data from the 2017/18 academic year to cover the following areas:

  • Institutional Requirements & Goals
  • First-Year Writing
  • Labor Conditions in First-Year Writing
  • Upper-Level Writing Courses
  • Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC)
  • Undergraduate and Graduate Writing Majors and Minor
  • Basic Writing
  • Writing Centers
  • Writing Fellows
  • English Language Learners
  • Administrative Positions

With data from over 1,000 institutions from two iterations of the survey, the National Census of Writing will help educators and administrators across the country to better understand the variety of ways in which writing instruction is delivered in the twenty-first century.

The research team has made the processed data available through this open-access database, which allows individuals to gather national data on pressing local questions. The database is searchable by type of institution, institutional size, geographical location, and, when we have consent, by the name of the institution. The NCW uses pie charts to present single-response questions and bar graphs to present multi-response questions. For some questions, the research team decided to share the raw data (numerical or textual) to allow users to process those data as needed. For most questions, users can utilize the advanced feature to download the data for their own use.