Graduate Center Study on Educational Attainment Reports that Americans Earning Bachelor’s Degrees or Higher Increased Across all Race/Ethnic Groups and Both Sexes

Media contact:  Tanya Domi, tdomi@gc.cuny.edu, 212-817-7283, 917-733-7838 (cell)

Graduate Center Study on Educational Attainment Reports that Americans Earning Bachelor’s Degrees or Higher Increased Across all Race/Ethnic Groups and Both Sexes


Greater Increase in Educational Attainment Among Females Compared with Males


NEW YORK, Nov. 10, 2015 — The Center for Latin American, Caribbean and Latino Studies at The Graduate Center, City University of New York, announced today a new study — “Educational Attainment in the United States and Six Major Metropolitan Areas, 1990-2010: A Quantitative Study by Race, Ethnicity, and Sex” that reports the percentage of the U.S. general population with a B.A. degree or higher increased by 40 percent and high school non-completion decreased by 44 percent between 1990 and 2010.

“Perhaps the most notable findings are those concerning sex,” said Lawrence Cappello, author of the report and a Ph.D. candidate at the Graduate Center. “Female college graduation rates increased by 55 percent, which was more than twice that of males, who had a 26 percent increase over the last two decades.”

In short, less people in the U.S. failed to complete high school and more attained higher education degrees. The trend emerged among all races, ethnicities, and sexes nationwide and in six major metropolitan areas including Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York and Riverside.

Figure 1

Findings of Sex Differences

According to Cappello, among the total population, educational achievement among females jumped to 28 percent obtaining a college degree. This is compared to 29 percent attainment among males. Based on these findings Cappello notes, “if this trend remains the same females are poised to surpass their male counterparts by the 2020 census.”

Figure 2

The report uses the American Community Survey PUMS (Public Use Microdata Series) released by the Census Bureau and reorganized for public use by the Minnesota Population Center, University of Minnesota, IPUMSusa. Complete and detailed data for non-Hispanic whites, non-Hispanic blacks, Asians, and Latinos are presented throughout the report.

Findings of Major Race and Ethnic Groups
 
“The Latino population consistently had the lowest percentage of graduates with a Bachelor’s degree or higher in the U.S. and in all six major metropolitan areas, except for Miami,” said Laird W. Bergad, a Distinguished Professor and the Executive Director of CLACLS. “Latinos also had the highest rate of high school non-completion, both nationwide and in all six metropolitan areas.”

The report shows that the Asian population had the highest percentage of college graduates nationwide and in five of the six metropolitan areas between 1990 and 2010. Nationally, 49 percent of Asians attained a B.A. or above in 2010. New York City was the only exception, where non-Hispanic whites had the highest percentage of college graduates at 51 percent, while 42 percent of Asians obtained a college degree or above in 2010.

Among non-Hispanic whites and Asians, males had higher percentages of college graduates than females nationwide and the six metropolitan areas between 1990 and 2010. This pattern was inverted among non-Hispanic blacks and Latinos, where females had higher percentages of college graduates.

Figure 3

Findings of Major Metropolitan Areas
 
The Chicago area exhibited the highest educational attainment rates among the six areas and strong improvement between 1990 and 2010. Among the six metropolitan areas, Chicago had the lowest high school non-completion rate at 14 percent and the greatest college graduation rate at 36 percent in 2010.
 
Educational attainment also improved in the New York metropolitan area. There was a 33 percent increase in college graduation rates, from 25 percent receiving a B.A. or higher in 1990 to 35 percent in 2010. The percentage of New Yorkers without a high school diploma decreased by 38 percent between 1990 and 2010.

The Miami metropolitan area showed strong improvement in educational attainment. There was a 37 percent increase in college graduation rates between 1990 (19 percent) and 2010 (26 percent). The high school non-completion rate in Miami dropped by 38 percent across the twenty years.

The Houston area saw modest improvement in educational attainment. The college graduation rate increased by 16 percent, from 25 percent attaining a B.A. or higher in 1990 to 29 percent in 2010. The high school non-completion rate decreased from 24 percent in 1990 to 20 percent in 2010.
Of the six metropolitan areas, Los Angeles had the greatest percentage of individuals without a high school diploma in 2010 (24 percent). However, educational attainment improved in Los Angeles between 1990 and 2010, with a 31 percent increase in college graduation rates across the twenty years.

The Riverside, California area reflected only a small improvement in educational attainment, with college graduation rates increasing by only 5 percent between 1990 (15 percent) and 2010 (20 percent). Riverside had the smallest percentage of individuals that attained a Bachelor’s degree or higher in 2010.

Media contact Tanya Domi, tdomi@gc.cuny.edu, 212-817-7283. Ms. Domi can arrange interviews for the press.

About the Center for Latin American, Caribbean and Latino Studies
The Center for Latin American, Caribbean & Latino Studies (CLACLS) promotes the study and understanding of Latin American and Caribbean cultures and the communities established in the United States, with a special focus on New York City, by peoples from this vast and extraordinarily diverse region. CLACLS researches and publishes innovative data-based studies focused upon New York City’s and the nation’s Latino communities, such as CLACLS' flagship Latino Data Project. The Latino Data Project provides the public with insights on various aspects of the New York City Latino experience.

About the Graduate Center
The Graduate Center’s (GC) mission is to prepare the next generation of scholars for careers in the academy, cultural institutions, and public service, to carry out advanced research and scholarship, and to increase public understanding of pressing matters of local and global significance. Approximately 4,500 students are enrolled in forty doctoral and master’s programs, sustained by a wide range of financial support. Recognized for its scholarly leadership across the humanities, sciences, and social sciences, the GC is also a platform for influential public intellectuals, who, through the GC’s public programs, inform and enliven debate, and enrich the cultural life of New York City.

Submitted on: NOV 10, 2015

Category: Center for Latin American, Caribbean, and Latino Studies | Press Room