Educational Attainment in the United States: 2009

February 2012
Report Number: P20-566
Camille L. Ryan and Julie Siebens

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.1 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.