Indicators

This is a supplemental indicator. Unlike core indicators, which, for the most part, are updated yearly, supplemental indicators may only be updated periodically.

Parental Education
(Last Updated: January 2015)

Among children ages 6 to 18 in 2012, about 36 percent had parents whose highest level of education was a bachelor's or higher degree and 11 percent had parents whose highest level of education was less than high school completion. Children in two-parent households generally had parents with higher levels of education than did children in single-parent households.

Parental educational attainment is associated with many measures of children's well-being. This indicator examines the highest level of education attained by parents of children ages 6 to 18 in 2007 and 2012, with a focus on children whose parents had not completed high school and children whose parents had attained at least a bachelor's degree.


Figure 1. Percentage distribution of children ages 6 to 18, by parent's highest level of educational attainment: 2007 and 2012

Figure 1. Percentage distribution of children ages 6 to 18, by parent's highest level of educational attainment: 2007 and 2012

1 Includes parents who completed high school through equivalency programs, such as a General Educational Development (GED) program.
NOTE: Parent's education reflects the highest level of education attained by any parent residing in the same household as the child. Parents include adoptive and stepparents but exclude parents not residing in the same household as their child. Detail may not sum to totals because of rounding.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Commerce, Census Bureau, American Community Survey (ACS), 2007 and 2012. See Digest of Education Statistics 2013, table 104.70.


In 2012, about 36 percent of children ages 6 to 18 had parents whose highest level of education was a bachelor's or higher degree, which was higher than the percentage in 2007 (34 percent). In contrast, 11 percent of children in 2012 had parents whose highest level of education was less than high school completion; this percentage was not measurably different from the percentage in 2007.


Figure 2. Percentage of children ages 6 to 18, by parent's highest level of educational attainment, child's race/ethnicity, and household type: 2012

Figure 2. Percentage of children ages 6 to 18, by parent's highest level of educational attainment, child's race/ethnicity, and household type: 2012


!Interpret data with caution. The coefficient of variation (CV) for this estimate is between 30 and 50 percent.
NOTE: Parent's education reflects the highest level of education attained by any parent residing in the same household as the child. Parents include adoptive and stepparents but exclude parents not residing in the same household as their child. Race categories exclude persons of Hispanic ethnicity. Detail may not sum to totals because of rounding.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Commerce, Census Bureau, American Community Survey (ACS), 2012. See Digest of Education Statistics 2013, table 104.70.


The percentage of children ages 6 to 18 whose parents had not completed high school in 2012 was lower for those living in two-parent households than for those living in single-parent households (7 vs. 18 percent). In addition, the percentage of children whose parents had attained at least a bachelor's degree was higher for those living in two-parent households than for those living in single-parent households (47 vs. 17 percent). The same patterns were observed for each racial/ethnic group.

Parental education varied by race/ethnicity among children ages 6 to 18 in both two-parent and single-parent households. Among children in two-parent households in 2012, the percentage of those whose parents had not completed high school was highest for Hispanics (25 percent), followed by Asians (8 percent). This percentage was also higher for Blacks and American Indians/Alaska Natives (both 3 percent) than for Whites and children of Two or more races (both 2 percent). Similar patterns were observed among children living in single-parent households. The percentage of children in single-parent households whose parents had not completed high school was higher for Hispanics (36 percent) than for any other racial/ethnic group, and it was higher for Asians (19 percent), American Indians/Alaska Natives (18 percent), and Blacks (15 percent) than for Whites and children of Two or more races (both 9 percent).

In 2012, among children ages 6 to 18 in two-parent households, the percentage of those whose parents had attained at least a bachelor's degree was highest for Asians (64 percent), followed by Whites and children of Two or more races (both 54 percent). This percentage was also higher for Blacks (40 percent) than for American Indians/Alaska Natives (28 percent), Pacific Islanders (26 percent), and Hispanics (22 percent), and it was higher for American Indians/Alaska Natives than for Hispanics. Among children living in single-parent households, the percentage of those whose parents had attained at least a bachelor's degree was also highest among Asians (36 percent), followed by Whites (24 percent). In addition, this percentage was higher for children of Two or more races (20 percent) than for Blacks (13 percent), American Indians/Alaska Natives (12 percent), Pacific Islanders (10 percent), and Hispanics (9 percent), and it was higher for Blacks and American Indians/Alaska Natives than for Hispanics.


Glossary Terms

Data Source

American Community Survey (ACS)