More Young Adults Hold Degrees, a Boost in the Job Market

The educational attainment of young Americans has increased over the past two decades, and those who have completed more education earn more money, on average, and are more likely to be employed. That’s just one corner of the picture painted by “The Condition of Education 2013,” the annual treasure-trove of data from the U.S. Department of Education, released on Thursday.

The report holds few surprises for close observers of American education, but rather offers a comprehensive overview of enrollment and attainment from early education through graduate school, as well as information on how students pay for higher education and how they fare later in the job market.

More Americans go directly from high school to college than did in the past. In 1975, just over half of high-school graduates went right on to college; in 2011, 68 percent did. But college-going patterns are linked to family income: 82 percent of students from families whose incomes are in the top 20 percent move directly into higher education, while only 52 percent of those with family incomes in the bottom 20 percent do.

And more young Americans have earned degrees. A third of 25- to 29-year-olds had earned at least a bachelor’s degree in 2012, up from 23 percent in 1990. There is considerable variation, however. Attainment gaps by race persisted through that period, while women have overtaken men. <Read more.>

Via Beckie Supiano, The Chronicle of Higher Ed.