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A college degree can translate into higher earnings for workers in Puerto Rico — about twice as much on average as those with just a high school diploma — according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Puerto Rico Community Survey (PRCS). The contrast in annual earnings was even greater for people with advanced degrees, who earned about three times as much as those with a high school degree.
“This middecade snapshot clearly shows the value of higher education,” said Census Bureau Director Louis Kincannon. “More people are beginning to recognize that an investment in an education is an investment in future earnings potential.”
Looking at earnings by educational attainment, adults 25 and older in Puerto Rico with a master’s, professional or doctorate degree earned a median income of $35,600. Those with a bachelor’s degree had a median income of $24,600, double that for those with a high school diploma, who earned a median income of $12,200 a year. Those who did not have a high school diploma had a median income of about $9,500.
The 2005 PRCS found that more than one-in-five people age 25 and older had a bachelor’s degree or higher — a 21 percent increase since 2000. Those with an advanced degree went up by 19 percent. The percentages with a bachelor’s degree or higher varied by municipios. Guaynabo (41 percent) was about double the commonwealth’s rate (21 percent). Some of the other municipios included Bayamon (24 percent), Caguas (24 percent), Carolina (26 percent), San Juan (32 percent), Toa Alta (25 percent) and Trujillo Alto (30 percent). Additionally, females (23 percent) had a greater proportion of bachelor’s degrees or higher than males (18 percent).
The number with a high school degree also went up significantly in the same time frame — an 18 percent increase. The overall proportion with a high school degree or higher was 66 percent, or two-out-of-three people on the island. The figure for those with only a high school degree was 24 percent or about one in four. The rates for some of the municipios were Bayamon (72 percent), Caguas (71 percent), Carolina (77 percent), Guaynabo (77 percent), San Juan (73 percent), Toa Alta (73 percent), Toa Baja (73 percent) and Trujillo Alto (73 percent). Females had roughly the same proportion of high school diplomas or higher as males (67 percent and 65 percent, respectively).
The PRCS is a component of the American Community Survey, which replaces the long-form questionnaire in the decennial census. It provides communities across the island a fresh look at how they are changing every year instead of every 10 years.
Lillian Torres Aguirre, director of the Office of the Census at Puerto Rico Planning Board, said, “This is an invaluable tool for decision-makers, businesses and community leaders, giving them the latest information to make better-informed decisions for their communities — where to build new schools, what services are needed for seniors, where to locate a new business, where to put new roads.”
The 2005 PRCS includes estimates for households in areas of 65,000 people or more. The 2006 PRCS, scheduled for release later this summer, will also include group quarters, such as dormitories and prisons. Data will be available in 2008 for areas of 20,000 or more, and by 2010, data will be available for areas down to the block group level.
In addition to education/earnings data, other highlights from the 2005 PRCS:
The 2005 estimates are for the household population, which is smaller than the total population. As is the case with all surveys, statistics from sample surveys are subject to sampling and nonsampling error. Estimates for municipios in the same paragraph may not be significantly different from one another. Please consult the data tables for specific margins of error. For more information go to: http://www.census.gov/acs/www/UseData/.