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1960 Census: Population, Supplementary Reports: Educational Attainment of the Population of the United States


The tables presented here are preprints of tables 173, 277, and 288 (or portions thereof) from Final Report PC(1)-1D, which contains additional summary information on the detailed characteristics or the population.

The educational level of the population of the United States continued its steady increase during the decade of the fifties. In 1960, the median number of years of formal schooling by adults (25 years old and over) was 10.6 years, as compared with 9.3 years for the adult population in 1950. The percentage of adults who had completed high school (including those who went on to college) rose from 34 to 41 percent over the decade, and the percentage who had completed four or more years of college went from 6 to 8 percent during the same period of time.

Improvement in the educational status of the population over time can be viewed more clearly through an analysis of educational differences by age in 1960. Only 18 percent of the population 75 years old and over (who had attended school several generations ago) finished high school. Corresponding figures were 25 percent for persons 60 to 64 years old (who were educated about two generations ago), 48 percent for those 40 to 44 years old (whose schooling was completed roughly one generation ago), and 64 percent for those 20 years old (most of whom have just passed through the educational systems).

In general, women tended to have slightly higher educational attainments than men at each age, but men and women had certain characteristic differences in their educational distributions. Among all age groups, smaller percentages of females than males failed to finish the 8th grade and larger percentages of females than males were high school graduates. At most age groups, particularly at the younger adult ages, larger percentages of men than women started and finished college.

The PDF to the right contains the 12-page report.


A Note on Language

Census statistics date back to 1790 and reflect the growth and change of the United States. Past census reports contain some terms that today’s readers may consider obsolete and inappropriate. As part of our goal to be open and transparent with the public, we are improving access to all Census Bureau original publications and statistics, which serve as a guide to the nation's history.

Page Last Revised - October 8, 2021
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