Indicators of Welfare Dependence: Annual Report to Congress, 1998. Employment and Work-related Risk Factor 8. Educational Attainment

10/01/1998

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. Percentage of Adults Ages 25 and Over by Level of Educational Attainment, 1970 to 1997

Figure WORK 8. Percentage of Adults Ages 25 and Over by Level of Educational Attainment, 1970 to 1997

Source: Table WORK 8.


  • 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 18 percent in 1997.
  • The percentage of the population receiving a high school education but with no subsequent college was 34 percent in 1970, rose somewhat in the 1970s and 1980s, and then fell back to 34 percent by 1997.
  • Since 1970 there has been a consistent increase in the percentage of the population with some college (one to three years), rising from 11 to 25 percent.
  • The percentage of the population completing four or more years of college more than doubled from 1970 to 1997, rising steadily from 11 to 24 percent.

Table WORK 8. Percentage of Adults Ages 25 and Over by Level of Educational Attainment, 1970 to 1997

  1970 1975 1980 1985 1990 1991 1992 1993 1997

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" Current Population Reports, Series P20, Nos. 476 (1994) and 505 (1998).

Less than High School 45 37 31 26 22 22 21 20 18
Finished High School, No College 34 36 37 38 38 39 36 35 34
One to Three Years of College 10 12 15 16 18 18 22 23 25
Four or More Years of College 11 14 17 19 21 21 21 22 24

 

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"Predictors and Risk Factors Associated with Welfare Receipt (First Half)" (pdf, 158.1Kb)

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