American Higher Education is Changing Fast: New Statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau

Barry Lenson

American Higher Education is Changing Fast: New Statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau

American Higher Education

If you think that nothing much is changing in American higher education, some statistics just released by the U.S. Census Bureau will surely change your mind.

Here are some trends you will want to know about . . .

  • For the first time ever, more than 30% of Americans aged 25+ have earned a bachelor’s degree. That’s a big change. Back in 1998, fewer than 25% of Americans older than age 25 did.
  • Hispanic-Americans are earning college degrees at a remarkably high rate. Between 2001 and 2011, the number of Hispanics who hold a bachelor's or a higher degree increased from 2.1 million to 3.8 million. That’s a jump of 80%.
  • College graduates weathered the recession better than non-graduates. According to the Census Bureau, people with bachelor's degrees had lower rates of unemployment than those with less education in every month from January 2008 to December 2010.
  • College grads are much more likely to be employed. The unemployment rate for high school dropouts peaked in February 2010, hitting 17.9%. In that same month, unemployment for Americans with bachelor's degrees was only 5.9%.
  • Americans over age 60 are extremely likely to have college degrees. According to the Census Bureau, 26% of Americans age 60 and older have bachelor's degrees. That’s an increase of 13% since 1992, and represents the highest percentage of educated older Americans ever.

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