U.S. Department of Commerce

Statistics in Schools

Educational Attainment

Educational Attainment

More education continues to pay off in a big way

  • Adults with advanced degrees earn four times more than those with less than a high school diploma. Workers 18 and older with a master’s, professional or doctoral degree earned an average of $82,320 in 2006, while those with less than a high school diploma earned $20,873.
  • Workers 18 and older with a bachelor’s degree earned an average of $56,788 in 2006, while those with a high school diploma earned $31,071.
  • Among those whose highest level of education was a high school diploma or equivalent, non-Hispanic white workers had the highest average earnings ($32,931), followed by Asians ($29,426) and blacks ($26,268). Average earnings of Hispanic workers in the same group ($27,508) were not statistically different from those of Asian or black workers.
  • Among workers with advanced degrees, Asians ($88,408) and non-Hispanic whites ($83,785) had higher average earnings than Hispanics ($70,432) and blacks ($64,834).

Who Goes to College and earns an Advanced Degree?

  • One-third of young women have bachelor’s degrees (about 33 percent of young women 25 to 29 had a bachelor’s degree or more education in 2007, compared with 26 percent of their male counterparts)
  • In 2007, 86 percent of all adults 25 and older reported they had completed at least high school and 29 percent at least a bachelor's degree.
  • More than half of Asians 25 and older had a bachelor’s degree or more (52 percent), compared with 32 percent of non-Hispanic whites, 19 percent of blacks and 13 percent of Hispanics
  • Among workers with advanced degrees, Asians ($88,408) and non-Hispanic whites ($83,785) had higher average earnings than Hispanics ($70,432) and blacks ($64,834).

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey and Current Population Survey.

For the latest information on educational attainment in the United States, go to: Educational Attainment in the United States: 2007.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Office of External Engagement (OEE) | 1-301-763-6590 | Last Revised: May 03, 2012