More adults in the U.S. are looking to improve their education goals as more college graduates are earning master’s, professional and doctoral degrees, according to a new report by the U.S. Census Bureau.
Since 2000, according to the Department of Commerce research arm, the number of people age 25 and older whose highest degree was a master’s has doubled to 21 million. The number of doctoral degree holders has more than doubled to 4.5 million. Today, the Census Bureau said about 13.1% of U.S. adults have an advanced degree, up from 8.6% in 2000.
These findings come from the “U.S. Census Bureau’s Educational Attainment in the United States: 2018” table that uses data from the bureau’s Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplement. It examines the educational attainment of adults age 25 and older by demographic and social characteristics, such as age, sex, race and Hispanic origin, nativity and disability status.
In 2017, on average a person with an advanced degree earned 3.7 times as much as a high school dropout. The tables show, among other things, that women make up a smaller share of high school dropouts than men, the share of Asians with advanced degrees is growing, and recent immigrants are more likely to go to college than earlier immigrants or native-born.
Among immigrants who have arrived since 2000, 38.8% have a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared with 35.2% of the native-born. Among earlier immigrants, the rate of college education was lower — for those who arrived in the 1990s, it was 31.3%.
They also clearly show a rise in the number of college graduates who have advanced degrees. In 2000, one-third of people with at least a bachelor’s degree had completed an advanced degree. By 2018, 37% had done so.
Some other highlights include:
- The percentage of people age 25 and over who had completed less than a high school diploma or equivalent was higher for men (10.6%) than for women (9.8%).
- Between 2000 and 2018, the percentage of people 25 years and older who had completed a bachelor’s degree or higher increased by 9 percentage points, from 25.6% to 35%.
- Naturalized citizens were among the groups with high levels of college attainment — 38.4% had a bachelor’s degree or higher.
- The children of immigrants were also likely to have a bachelor’s degree (39.6%).