College-educated Americans now make up one-third of population

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 259 views 

More than one-third of the U.S. adult population holds a bachelor’s degree or higher, marking the highest percentage since the U.S. Census Bureau began collecting data on the subject in 1940.

Data shows 33.4% of adults over age 25 were college-educated in 2016. The percentage was just under 30% in 2010, and it was 28% in 2006.

Just 4.6% of the population had reached that level of education when the bureau began recording the information within the Current Population Survey in 1940.

Kurt Bauman, chief of the education and social stratification branch at the Census Bureau, said in a press release that passing the one-third mark is “a significant milestone” for the country.

The Census Bureau’s Educational Attainment report for 2016 also shows the average earnings for adults with a high school education were $35,615.

The average earnings for those with a bachelor’s degree were $65,482, and the average earnings for those with an advanced degree were $92,525.

Average earnings for males age 25 and older whose highest educational attainment was high school were $41,942, while earnings for females within that category were $26,832.

In the college-educated category, average earnings for males were $79,927 and for females were $50,856.

Asian and non-Hispanic white populations were more likely to hold a bachelor’s degree or higher in 2016, according to the report. It shows 56% of the Asian-American community and 37% of the white community is college-educated.

In comparison, 23% of the black population and 16% of the Hispanic population held a bachelor’s degree or higher in 2016.

Overall, 89% of adults had completed high school or higher, showing a 3% increase in that statistic since 2006, according to the bureau.

Native-born Americans were more likely than the foreign-born to have a bachelor’s degree or higher (34% compared to 33%). Among the foreign-born, 38% of naturalized citizens had a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared with 27% of noncitizens, according to the bureau.