The Percentage of Adults Earning a Bachelor’s Degree is on the Rise

Posted November 2, 2016
By the Annie E. Casey Foundation
Blog educationalattainment 2016

High­er edu­ca­tion­al attain­ment— earn­ing a bachelor’s degree or above —is becom­ing more com­mon­place among Amer­i­cans between the ages of 25 and 34.

This is an impor­tant aca­d­e­m­ic mile­stone — one that can help pro­pel indi­vid­u­als down a path to eco­nom­ic suc­cess. Bachelor’s degree hold­ers typ­i­cal­ly earn 66% more than work­ers with only a high school diplo­ma. These grad­u­ates are also far less like­ly to face unem­ploy­ment, accord­ing to the U.S. Depart­ment of Education.

In 2015, 34% of adults between the ages of 25 to 34 had earned at least a bachelor’s degree. This is an improve­ment over the 2008 rate, when just 29% of adults ages 25 to 34 had hit the bach­e­lor degree benchmark.

Across the coun­try, the preva­lence of bachelor’s degree hold­ers varies wide­ly. For exam­ple: The pro­por­tion of adults who hold a bachelor’s degree or high­er is 20% in Neva­da, 51% in Mass­a­chu­setts, and 72% in Wash­ing­ton, D.C.

Vis­it the KIDS COUNT Data Cen­ter for more edu­ca­tion data at the state and nation­al level:

Teens ages 16 to 19 not in school and not high school graduates
Edu­ca­tion­al attain­ment of work­ing age pop­u­la­tion 25 to 64
Edu­ca­tion­al attain­ment of pop­u­la­tion ages 25 to 34
Chil­dren who have dif­fi­cul­ty speak­ing English
Chil­dren who speak a lan­guage oth­er than Eng­lish at home

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