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Richer first-years more interested in selective living: Insights about income from Class of 2023 survey

Duke admits students from all income brackets, and The Chronicle's Class of 2023 survey reflected that variability. Of the 189 first-year students who completed the questionnaire, the majority came from households with an annual income between $80,000 and $250,000, with 17 respondents (9%) reporting an income less than $40,000 and 23 (12.2%) at more than $500,000. Here are other notable results from the survey.

Political beliefs are consistent across incomes

Students' political affiliations were relatively consistent despite differences in their family's annual income. Around 30% of students reporting over $500,000 in annual income identified as either "conservative" or "moderate," compared to 35% of students reporting less than $40,000. 

The percentage of "liberal" students remained relatively steady across varying socioeconomic profiles, with the figure never dipping below 61% or exceeding 70%. 



Daria Patterson-Smith


Wealthier students more interested in selective living

Just over half of surveyed students from an income bracket of $125,000 or less annually reported that they were interested in Greek life. In contrast, nearly three-quarters of surveyed students in a bracket above $125,000 said that they would consider rushing a fraternity or sorority.

A large majority of all students regardless of income were interested in Selective Living Groups, including almost every student who family makes more $125,000. SLGs traditionally ask for a smaller financial contribution from their members.


Daria Patterson-Smith



Top earners more likely to apply Early Decision, have parent or sibling who attended Duke

Of students who reported an annual income over $500,000, almost 80% had Duke as their first choice, and 65% applied ED. About half of the students from every other bracket said that Duke was not their first choice, and the highest percentage of any other bracket that applied ED was 46%. 


Daria Patterson-Smith



Daria Patterson-Smith

In line with this data was the fact that over a third of the highest income bracket reported having parents or siblings who attended Duke. By comparison, only about 5% of students with an annual income below $80,000 reported legacy status.

Daria Patterson-Smith

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