Welfare Indicators and Risk Factors: Fourteenth Report to Congress. Employment and Work-related Risk Factor 4. Educational Attainment

09/22/2015

Figure WORK 4. Percentage of Adults Ages 25 and over by Level of Educational Attainment: 1960-2012

Figure WORK 4. Percentage of Adults Ages 25 and over by Level of Educational Attainment: 1960-2012

Note: Completing the GED is not considered completing high school for this table. Beginning with data for 1992, a new survey question results in different categories than for prior years. Data shown as “High school graduate, no college” were previously from the category “High school, 4 years” and are now from the category “High school graduate.” Data shown as “One to three years of college” were previously from the category “College 1 to 3 years” and are now the sum of the categories: “Some college” and two separate “Associate degree” categories. Data shown as “Four or more years of college” were previously from the category “College 4 years or more,” and are now the sum of the categories: “Bachelor's degree,” “Master's degree,” “Doctorate degree” and “Professional degree.”

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, “Educational Attainment in the United States, 2013),” Current Population Reports and earlier reports.

  • Figure WORK 4 shows educational attainment for adults 25 years and older between 1960 and 2012. Table WORK 4 shows the corresponding point estimates for select years.
  • The percentage of the population 25 years and older completing four or more years of college has increased between 1960 and 2012, rising from 7.7 percent to 30.9 percent. The percentage of the population 25 years and older with some college but less than four years increased from 8.8 percent in 1960 to 26.3 percent in 2012.
  • The percentage of the population 25 years and older without at least a high school education has declined over the past 50 years, from 59.0 percent in 1960 to 12.4 percent in 2012.
  • The percentage of the population 25 years and older receiving a high school education (but no post secondary education) was 24.6 percent in 1960 and rose to 38.9 percent in 1988. Since 1988, this figure has fallen to 30.4 percent in 2012 due (in part) to increased college attendance.

Table WORK 4.  Percentage of Adults Ages 25 and over by Level of Educational Attainment: Selected Years

Year

Not a High School Graduate

High School Graduate, No College

One to Three Years of College

Four or More Years of College

1940

75.9

14.1

5.4

4.6

1950

66.7

20.1

7.1

6.0

1960

59.0

24.6

8.8

7.7

1965

51.0

30.7

8.9

9.4

1970

44.8

34.0

10.2

11.0

1975

37.5

36.2

12.4

13.9

1980

31.4

36.8

14.9

17.0

1981

30.3

37.6

15.1

17.1

1982

29.0

37.9

15.3

17.7

1983

27.9

37.7

15.6

18.8

1984

26.7

38.4

15.8

19.1

1985

26.1

38.2

16.3

19.4

1986

25.3

38.4

16.9

19.4

1987

24.4

38.7

17.1

19.9

1988

23.8

38.9

17.0

20.3

1989

23.1

38.5

17.3

21.1

1990

22.4

38.4

17.9

21.3

1991

21.6

38.6

18.4

21.4

1992

20.6

36.0

22.1

21.4

1993

19.8

35.4

23.0

21.9

1994

19.1

34.4

24.3

22.2

1995

18.3

33.9

24.8

23.0

1996

18.3

33.6

24.6

23.6

1997

17.9

33.8

24.5

23.9

1998

17.2

33.8

24.7

24.4

1999

16.6

33.3

24.8

25.2

2000

15.9

33.1

25.4

25.6

2001

15.9

32.3

25.7

26.2

2002

15.9

32.1

25.3

26.7

2003

15.4

32.0

25.3

27.2

2004

14.8

32.0

25.5

27.7

2005

14.8

32.2

25.4

27.7

2006

14.5

31.7

25.7

28.0

2007

14.3

31.6

25.3

28.7

2008

13.4

31.2

26.0

29.4

2009

13.3

31.1

26.1

29.5

2010

12.9

31.2

26.0

29.9

2011

12.4

30.7

26.4

30.4

2012

12.4

30.4

26.3

30.9

 

Note: Completing the GED is not considered completing high school for this table.  Beginning with data for 1992, a new survey question results in different categories than for prior years.  Data shown as “High school graduate, no college” were previously from the category “High school, 4 years” and are now from the category “High school graduate.”  Data shown as “One to three years of college” were previously from the category “College 1 to 3 years” and are now the sum of the categories: “Some college” and two separate “Associate degree” categories.  Data shown as “Four or more years of college” were previously from the category “College 4 years or more,” and are now the sum of the categories: “Bachelor's degree,” “Master's degree,” “Doctorate degree” and “Professional degree.” 

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, “Educational Attainment in the United States: 2013. http://www.census.gov/hhes/socdemo/education/data/cps/2013/tables.html and earlier reports.

 

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