Indicators of Welfare Dependence: Annual Report to Congress, 1997. Employment and Work-related Risk Factor 8. Educational Attainment

10/01/1997

Completed schooling is one measure of job-skill level. Individuals with no more than a high school education have the lowest amount of human capital and are at the greatest risk of becoming poor despite their work effort. This risk factor tracks the trend in educational attainment.

Figure WORK 8. Percent of Adults Age 25 and over by Level of Educational Attainment

Figure WORK 8. Percent of Adults Age 25 and over by Level of Educational Attainment

  • Since 1970 there has been a marked decline in the percentage of the population with less than a high school education, dropping from 45 percent in 1970 to 20 percent in 1993.
  • The percentage of the population completing four or more years of college doubled from 1970 to 1993, rising steadily from 11 to 22 percent.
  • The percentage of the population receiving a high school education but with no subsequent college fluctuated only slightly from 1970 until 1993.
  • Since 1970 there has been a consistent increase in the percentage of the population with one to three years of college rising from 11 to 18 percent.

Table WORK 8. Percent of Adults Age 25 and over by Level of Educational Attainment

  1970 1975 1980 1985 1990 1991 1992 1993
Less than High School 45 37 31 26 22 22 21 20
Finished High School, No College 34 36 37 38 38 39 36 35
One to Three Years of College 10 12 15 16 18 18 22 23
Four or More Years of College 11 14 17 19 21 21 21 22

Note: Completing the GED is not considered completing high school within this table. Beginning with data for 1992, a new question results in different categories than for earlier years. Data shown as 'High School, 4 years' is now collected by the category 'High School Graduate.' Data shown as 'College 1 to 3 years,' is now collected by 'Some College;' and two 'Associate Degree' categories. Data shown as 'College 4 years or more,' is now collected by the categories, 'Bachelor's Degree; Master's Degree;' 'Doctorate Degree;' 'Professional Degree.'

Source: U.S. Bureau of the Census, "Educational Attainment in the United States: March 1993 and 1992," Current Population Reports, Series P20-476, 1994.