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Report Number P20-578
Camille L. Ryan and Kurt Bauman


This report provides a portrait of educational attainment in the United States based on data collected from the Current Population Survey (CPS). The report examines educational attainment of the adult population by demographic and social characteristics such as age, sex, race and Hispanic origin, and disability status, as well as differences in educational attainment between the native and the foreign born. Historical data are also included to present some general trends over time.


  • In 2015, almost 9 out of 10 adults (88 percent) had at least a high school diploma or GED, while nearly 1 in 3 adults (33 percent) held a bachelor’s or higher degree.
  • The percentage of women who had a bachelor’s degree or higher (33 percent) was not statistically different than the percentage of men (32 percent) with this level of education.
  • Educational attainment varied by race and Hispanic origin. More than half of Asians aged 25 and older had a bachelor’s degree or higher in 2015. Asians were more likely than non-Hispanic Whites to have at least a bachelor’s degree.
  • Asians and non-Hispanic Whites were more likely to hold a bachelor’s degree or higher compared with Blacks and Hispanics.
  • Native adults were more likely to have a high school education or higher but were no more likely than foreign-born adults to hold an advanced degree.
  • Adults without a disability were more likely to hold a bachelor’s degree or more than adults with a disability.

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