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ERIC Number: ED529755
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Feb
Pages: 17
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
Educational Attainment in the United States: 2009. Population Characteristics. Current Population Reports. P20-566
Ryan, Camille L.; Siebens, Julie
US Census Bureau
This report provides a portrait of educational attainment in the United States based on data collected in the 2009 American Community Survey (ACS) and the 2005-2009 ACS 5-year estimates. It also uses data from the Annual Social and Economic Supplement (ASEC) to the Current Population Survey (CPS) collected in 2009 and earlier, as well as monthly data from the CPS. Prior to 2007, U.S. Census Bureau reports on educational attainment were based on data primarily from the CPS. The ACS is now used as the main source of educational attainment data because it has a larger sample and provides more reliable statistics for small levels of geography. The report also provides estimates of educational attainment in the United States, including comparisons by demographic characteristics such as age, sex, race, and Hispanic origin. Information about educational attainment among the native-born and foreign-born populations is included. This report also presents a geographic picture of educational attainment with estimates by region and state. Workers' median earnings by educational attainment are also addressed, including differences by sex, race, and Hispanic origin, as well as unemployment rates by educational attainment. Historical data are included to present some general trends over time. Highlights of this report include: (1) In 2009, more than 4 out of 5 (85 percent) adults aged 25 and over reported having at least a high school diploma or its equivalent, while over 1 in 4 (28 percent) reported a bachelor's degree or higher. This reflects more than a three-fold increase in high school attainment and more than a five-fold increase in college attainment since the Census Bureau first collected educational attainment data in 1940; (2) A larger proportion of women than men had completed high school or more education. A larger proportion of men had received at least a bachelor's degree. However, because women 25 years old and over outnumber men aged 25 and over, the number of women with bachelor's degrees is larger than the number of men with these degrees. Among people aged 25 to 34, the percentage of women with a bachelor's degree or higher was 35 percent compared with 27 percent of men; (3) Differences in educational attainment by race and Hispanic origin existed. Attainment for non-Hispanic Whites and Asians was higher than attainment for Blacks and Hispanics; (4) Educational attainment varied by nativity. About 89 percent of the native-born population had completed at least high school, compared with 68 percent of the foreign-born population. More native-born than foreign-born adults reported completing at least a bachelor's degree (28 percent and 27 percent, respectively); (5) Educational attainment of foreign-born Hispanics was lower than all other groups. The percentage of foreign-born Hispanics who had completed at least high school was 48 percent; (6) The Midwest had the highest percentage of adults reporting that they completed high school or more education, and the Northeast had the highest percentage with a bachelor's degree or more education; (7) Among all workers, those with a bachelor's degree on average earned about $20,000 more per year than workers with a high school diploma or a General Educational Development (GED) certificate. Non-Hispanic Whites earned more than other race groups and more than Hispanics at the high school level, while earnings at the bachelor's and advanced degree level were highest for Asians. Black and Hispanic workers earned less at nearly all attainment levels; and (8) Men earned more than women at each level of educational attainment. (Contains 5 figures, 3 tables and 27 footnotes.)
US Census Bureau. 4600 Silver Hill Road, Washington, DC 20233. Tel: 800-923-8282; Tel: 301-763-4636; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education; Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: US Census Bureau
Identifiers - Location: United States