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For Immediate Release: Monday, March 30, 2020

U.S. Census Bureau Releases New Educational Attainment Data

Press Release Number CB20-TPS.09

MARCH 30, 2020 — Today the U.S. Census Bureau released findings from the Educational Attainment in the United States: 2019 table package that uses statistics from the Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplement to examine the educational attainment of adults age 25 and older by demographic and social characteristics, such as age, sex, race, nativity and disability status.

Data highlights:

  • Almost half (47.4%) of the foreign-born population who arrived in the United States over the past decade had a college degree — a higher rate than both earlier foreign-born and native-born Americans. 
  • An estimated 47.4% of the foreign-born population who arrived in the United States from 2010 to 2019 had a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared to 36.3% of native-born Americans and 31.5% of the foreign-born population who entered the country in or before 2009.
  • In 2019, 39.4% of naturalized citizens and 40.2% of children of the foreign-born population in the United States had a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared to 35.9% of those born to native-born parents. A greater share of the foreign-born population (14.1%) than native-born Americans (13.4%) also held an advanced degree, such as a master’s or doctorate.   
  • In 2019, high school was the highest level of education completed by 28.1% of the population age 25 and older and 22.5% finished four years of college.   
  • From 2010 to 2019, the percentage of people age 25 and older with a bachelor’s degree or higher jumped from 29.9% to 36.0%.
  • In the past decade, the rate of labor force participation of the population age 25 and over fell for all education groups except those who had not completed high school, whose rate was not statistically different. Labor force participation fell 3.1% for people with a bachelor’s degree or higher. It fell by 5.1% among those with some college or an associate degree, and by 4.5% for those who completed high school. (Labor force participation includes people who are employed or unemployed, but excludes people who are retired, taking care of home or family, or otherwise not participating in the labor market.​)
  • In 2019, 40.1% of non-Hispanic whites age 25 and older had a bachelor’s degree or higher, up from 33.2% in 2010. During the same period, the percentage of blacks age 25 and older with a bachelor’s degree or higher rose from 19.8% to 26.1%; Asians from 52.4% to 58.1%; and Hispanics from 13.9% to 18.8%.

The Current Population Survey, sponsored jointly by the Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, is the primary source of labor force statistics for the population of the United States.

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Frances Alonzo
Public Information Office

Page Last Revised - October 8, 2021
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