The New York Times has an article on the hardships of a humanities Ph.D. Among the highlights: it takes an average of 9 years to finish a humanities Ph.D. (if you do); high amount of debt (over $25,000); and the old age of graduates (35 years-old) which means less time available to recover all of that money.
The emphasis here, of course, is the relative decline in the quality of the humanities Ph.D. student. I’ve pointed out that there is a general increase in time-to-degree and debt, with fewer assistantships and more teaching duties for graduate students–but it’s especially affected the humanities and, to a lesser extent, social science student. This has led to an outgrowth of unionizations with the main goal of reducing adjuncts and increasing full-time faculty members.
Not much for comment here, other than the Times emphasis on data visualization–which are better than any table I put together on the topic.