Skip Navigation
small NCES header image
Table 435. Participation rate of persons, 17 years old and over, in adult education during the previous 12 months, by selected characteristics of participants: Selected years, 1991 through 2005
Characteristic of participant Percent taking any program, class, or course Percent taking specific programs, classes, or courses, 2005 Percent doing informal learning activities for personal interest, 2005
1991 1995 1999 2001 2005 Basic skills/General Educational Development (GED) classes English as a second language (ESL) classes Part-time post- secondary education1 Career or job-related courses Apprentice programs Personal-interest courses
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13
Total 33.0 (0.68) 40.2 (0.48) 44.5 (0.77) 46.4 (0.55) 44.4 (0.74) 1.3 (0.22) 0.9 (0.17) 5.0 (0.29) 27.0 (0.63) 1.2 (0.18) 21.4 (0.71) 70.5 (0.79)
Sex                                                
Male 32.6 (1.09) 38.2 (0.65) 41.7 (1.15) 43.1 (0.83) 41.0 (1.20) 1.4 (0.41) 0.9 (0.29) 5.0 (0.44) 24.5 (0.99) 1.7 (0.31) 18.3 (1.08) 70.8 (1.10)
Female 33.2 (0.97) 42.1 (0.59) 47.1 (1.02) 49.5 (0.78) 47.5 (1.01) 1.2 (0.19) 0.9 (0.15) 5.1 (0.37) 29.2 (0.95) 0.7 (0.15) 24.2 (0.88) 70.2 (1.03)
                                                 
Age                                                
17 to 24 years 37.8 (1.46) 47.0 (1.12) 49.9 (2.34) 52.8 (2.04) 52.8 (2.79) 6.0 (1.48) 1.7 (0.61) 11.5 (1.34) 21.3 (2.22) 2.7 (0.76) 26.3 (2.60) 69.2 (2.54)
25 to 29 years 40.0 (2.33) 49.6 (1.31) 56.5 (2.53) 52.9 (2.60) 51.6 (3.82) 1.8 (0.48) 3.3 (1.48) 9.1 (1.50) 29.5 (2.48) 3.2 (1.06) 20.9 (2.78) 66.8 (3.75)
30 to 34 years 37.6 (2.88) 47.3 (1.41) 56.2 (2.57) 53.7 (2.18) 52.7 (2.52) 1.9 (0.66) 1.6 (0.64) 8.4 (1.28) 33.8 (2.71) 2.5 (0.89) 23.2 (2.23) 73.8 (2.22)
35 to 39 years 42.1 (2.71) 47.7 (1.15) 50.1 (2.43) 54.0 (1.71) 48.6 (3.21) 0.4 (0.16) 0.7 (0.26) 6.1 (0.90) 32.6 (3.29) 0.9 (0.36) 20.7 (2.67) 75.5 (2.69)
40 to 44 years 49.2 (3.28) 50.9 (1.15) 50.5 (2.43) 53.5 (1.88) 48.9 (2.43) 0.8 (0.31) 0.6 (0.23) 4.7 (0.77) 34.8 (2.30) 0.9 (0.42) 23.4 (2.29) 71.5 (2.62)
45 to 49 years 40.0 (2.43) 48.7 (1.66) 49.8 (2.69) 55.4 (2.02) 49.0 (2.09) 0.6 (0.30) 0.6 (0.25) 3.2 (0.48) 37.7 (1.83) 0.5 (0.23) 19.3 (1.88) 71.6 (2.52)
50 to 54 years 26.8 (3.31) 42.5 (1.38) 47.2 (2.51) 51.1 (2.22) 46.6 (2.36) 0.2 (0.11) 0.3 (0.15) 4.5 (0.75) 35.2 (2.25) 0.6 (0.28) 20.3 (1.64) 75.6 (1.89)
55 to 59 years 29.0 (3.74) 32.2 (1.66) 38.0 (2.60) 44.1 (1.98) 42.2 (2.78) 0.4 (0.29) 0.4 (0.26) 1.9 (0.43) 31.9 (2.39) 0.3 (0.17) 18.0 (1.63) 69.5 (2.56)
60 to 64 years 17.4 (1.90) 23.7 (1.89) 31.4 (2.83) 30.8 (2.18) 37.9 (3.00) (†) 0.4 (0.29) 0.9 (0.36) 20.9 (2.07) 0.3 (0.20) 24.1 (2.40) 71.4 (3.04)
65 to 69 years 14.2 (2.97) 18.1 (1.46) 25.4 (2.54) 20.5 (1.74) 26.2 (2.67) (†) (†) 0.5 (0.22) 8.1 (1.36) (†) 20.9 (2.41) 67.6 (2.52)
70 years and over 8.6 (1.25) 13.8 (1.09) 15.0 (1.38) 21.7 (1.37) 21.5 (1.44) 0.2 (0.10) (†) 0.3 (0.23) 4.0 (0.78) (†) 17.9 (1.33) 62.9 (1.82)
                                                 
Racial/ethnic group                                                
White 34.1 (0.82) 41.5 (0.54) 44.4 (0.89) 47.4 (0.59) 45.6 (0.84) 0.9 (0.23) 0.2 (0.08) 4.9 (0.35) 29.1 (0.70) 0.9 (0.17) 22.1 (0.87) 73.0 (0.92)
Black 25.9 (2.23) 37.0 (1.45) 46.3 (2.30) 43.3 (1.50) 46.4 (2.81) 1.9 (0.49) (†) 5.4 (0.97) 27.0 (2.53) 1.5 (0.73) 23.7 (2.11) 65.3 (2.02)
Hispanic 31.4 (2.63) 33.7 (1.18) 41.3 (2.51) 41.7 (2.28) 37.8 (2.43) 2.6 (0.72) 5.6 (1.22) 5.7 (1.55) 16.9 (1.72) 2.2 (0.63) 15.4 (1.75) 57.5 (2.86)
Asian (†) (†) (†) (†) 48.3 (5.39) 1.2 (0.65) 2.6 (1.03) 7.6 (2.62) 27.2 (4.70) (†) 26.5 (5.06) 81.1 (4.10)
Pacific Islander (†) (†) (†) (†) (†) (†) (†) (†) (†) (†) (†) (†)
Asian/Pacific Islander 35.9 (5.55) 39.7 (2.92) 51.1 (4.63) 49.5 (3.81) (†) (†) (†) (†) (†) (†) (†) (†)
American Indian/Alaska Native 29.3 (11.55) 38.8 (4.85) 36.3 (9.16) 50.2 (8.28) 36.3 (10.17) (†) (†) 4.4 (1.82) 23.0 (8.51) (†) 13.0 (6.16) 70.6 (9.18)
Two or more races (†) (†) (†) (†) 39.4 (4.94) 5.1 (2.17) (†) 3.2 (1.07) 23.8 (4.06) 1.3 (0.59) 21.0 (4.13) 77.6 (5.28)
                                                 
Highest level of education                                                
completed                                                
8th grade or less 7.7 (1.44) 10.0 (1.10) 14.7 (2.92) 19.7 (2.84) 15.5 (2.47) 1.9 (0.57) 4.3 (1.70) 0.4 (0.23) 1.7 (0.55) 1.7 (0.91) 7.3 (1.24) 38.1 (3.27)
9th through 12th grade, no completion 15.8 (2.25) 20.2 (1.38) 25.6 (2.55) 25.5 (1.53) 27.2 (2.40) 7.9 (1.69) 1.1 (0.41) 2.1 (0.57) 7.6 (1.44) 1.5 (0.61) 12.5 (1.53) 55.7 (2.52)
High school completion 24.1 (1.10) 30.7 (0.84) 34.8 (1.37) 33.9 (1.07) 33.0 (1.62) 0.5 (0.24) 0.7 (0.24) 2.5 (0.36) 17.2 (1.18) 1.1 (0.35) 16.8 (1.27) 63.6 (1.93)
Some vocational/technical 34.2 (3.80) 41.9 (2.16) 41.1 (3.97) 50.7 (3.51) 43.3 (4.30) 0.5 (0.55) (†) 4.5 (1.42) 28.3 (3.71) (†) 23.2 (3.09) 77.6 (3.98)
Some college 41.4 (1.67) 49.3 (0.92) 51.1 (1.76) 57.4 (1.29) 51.1 (1.79) 0.3 (0.18) 0.8 (0.52) 8.6 (1.06) 28.8 (1.54) 1.4 (0.47) 26.8 (1.80) 79.8 (1.52)
Associate's degree 49.2 (5.82) 56.1 (1.85) 56.6 (2.93) 62.5 (2.15) 56.5 (3.64) 0.5 (0.40) 1.1 (0.51) 6.6 (1.42) 40.8 (3.27) 1.9 (0.66) 20.1 (2.48) 75.9 (3.70)
Bachelor's degree 51.1 (2.46) 56.9 (1.20) 60.3 (1.84) 64.5 (1.39) 59.8 (1.56) (†) 0.4 (0.17) 6.3 (0.82) 44.1 (1.61) 0.4 (0.17) 28.6 (1.55) 79.3 (1.72)
Some graduate work (or study) 55.1 (2.90) 59.9 (1.55) 63.6 (1.96) 68.9 (1.64) 66.3 (1.99) (†) 0.5 (0.32) 8.7 (0.86) 49.3 (2.15) 1.2 (0.61) 30.7 (1.77) 88.0 (1.06)
No degree (†) 62.2 (2.67) 64.7 (4.39) 64.2 (3.54) 65.3 (4.84) (†) (†) 14.5 (2.55) 40.5 (4.68) (†) 38.7 (4.81) 78.2 (4.34)
Master's (†) 59.1 (1.88) 65.7 (2.64) 70.7 (2.10) 67.5 (2.59) (†) 0.9 (0.52) 8.9 (1.31) 51.4 (2.81) 1.4 (0.97) 30.6 (2.04) 88.8 (1.33)
Doctor's (†) 54.0 (6.99) 53.1 (4.73) 63.7 (3.98) 58.0 (4.94) (†) (†) 10.1 (3.14) 34.0 (4.53) (†) 31.4 (3.95) 90.3 (3.26)
Professional (†) 65.9 (3.91) 72.5 (5.75) 72.8 (3.79) 68.2 (5.77) (†) (†) 1.9 (1.01) 59.0 (6.35) (†) 23.9 (4.35) 91.6 (2.15)
                                                 
Urbanicity                                                
City (†) (†) (†) (†) 45.8 (1.46) 1.4 (0.31) 1.6 (0.38) 5.7 (0.59) 26.3 (1.24) 1.8 (0.43) 22.5 (1.10) 69.2 (1.39)
Suburban (†) (†) (†) (†) 46.9 (1.33) 0.9 (0.23) 0.9 (0.36) 5.8 (0.55) 29.7 (1.26) 0.9 (0.22) 23.4 (1.16) 73.4 (1.28)
Town (†) (†) (†) (†) 41.8 (2.33) 2.7 (1.16) 0.4 (0.14) 4.2 (0.87) 25.6 (1.74) 0.5 (0.21) 18.5 (1.96) 70.5 (2.43)
Rural (†) (†) (†) (†) 39.5 (2.04) 0.8 (0.22) 0.3 (0.15) 3.3 (0.59) 24.2 (1.38) 1.2 (0.40) 18.3 (1.76) 67.6 (1.76)
                                                 
Labor force status                                                
In labor force 40.7 (0.96) 49.8 (0.69) 52.1 (0.94) (†) 52.3 (0.93) 1.4 (0.32) 0.8 (0.19) 6.4 (0.39) 37.1 (0.83) 1.5 (0.24) 21.9 (0.91) 73.0 (0.94)
Employed 42.0 (1.00) 50.7 (0.53) 52.5 (0.96) (†) 53.4 (0.94) 1.1 (0.31) 0.7 (0.20) 6.5 (0.39) 38.8 (0.83) 1.4 (0.24) 21.8 (0.94) 73.5 (1.01)
Unemployed 26.0 (3.24) 36.6 (1.91) 44.9 (4.60) (†) 37.8 (4.26) 5.8 (1.60) 1.9 (0.79) 5.2 (1.37) 13.5 (2.16) 2.1 (1.23) 22.1 (3.99) 66.7 (3.80)
Not in labor force 15.7 (0.91) 21.3 (0.69) 24.9 (1.17) (†) 27.6 (1.18) 1.1 (0.24) 1.3 (0.36) 2.3 (0.45) 5.7 (0.55) 0.6 (0.22) 20.5 (0.97) 65.2 (1.27)
                                                 
Occupation                                                
Executive, administrative,
    or managerial occupations
49.3 (3.45) 55.8 (1.92) 57.0 (2.11) 66.2 (1.61) 64.1 (2.73) 0.2 (0.24) (†) 6.0 (1.10) 51.8 (2.82) 0.4 (0.24) 28.8 (2.89) 78.6 (2.71)
Engineers, surveyors, and
    architects
62.6 (7.85) 65.5 (4.18) 79.8 (6.01) 68.1 (4.46) 71.2 (5.68) (†) (†) 9.3 (3.21) 55.6 (5.60) (†) 31.4 (6.19) 81.1 (4.63)
Natural scientists and
    mathematicians
48.2 (9.86) 72.3 (3.52) 60.5 (6.74) 74.0 (4.46) 69.1 (4.63) (†) (†) 9.2 (2.49) 49.6 (5.27) 2.0 (1.47) 30.2 (4.53) 85.5 (5.16)
Social scientists and workers,
    religious workers, and lawyers
55.6 (6.01) 76.6 (2.61) 79.3 (4.35) 83.5 (3.05) 77.7 (4.11) (†) (†) 12.8 (3.16) 64.3 (4.42) (†) 29.2 (3.52) 89.4 (2.78)
Teachers, elementary/secondary 56.0 (4.20) 54.8 (4.64) 66.5 (5.61) 79.9 (2.95) 79.7 (2.59) (†) 1.6 (1.00) 8.3 (3.16) 65.0 (3.99) 0.6 (0.34) 31.7 (3.78) 83.8 (2.62)
Teachers: college, university,
    postsecondary institutions
45.5 (8.31) 76.7 (1.98) 78.4 (3.11) 69.4 (4.60) 61.3 (6.96) (†) (†) 4.7 (3.22) 49.0 (8.50) (†) 19.5 (4.98) 91.7 (3.58)
Health diagnosing and treating
    practitioners
67.1 (13.73) 71.1 (5.78) 79.8 (9.02) 78.5 (6.38) 88.8 (5.59) 0.6 (0.55) (†) 15.4 (2.47) 79.5 (6.59) (†) 31.9 (9.15) 84.5 (5.63)
Registered nurses, pharmacists,
    dieticians, therapists, and
    physician's assistants
59.6 (6.69) 86.7 (2.47) 85.4 (4.10) 82.7 (3.83) 85.4 (4.05) (†) (†) 7.9 (2.17) 78.2 (4.89) (†) 27.4 (3.73) 83.1 (3.92)
Writers, artists, entertainers,
    and athletes
42.9 (6.63) 49.9 (4.37) 50.0 (6.93) 46.8 (6.03) 52.5 (6.59) 0.2 (0.23) (†) 5.4 (2.16) 27.8 (5.02) 2.2 (1.53) 35.3 (6.42) 88.2 (3.89)
Health technologists and technicians 68.6 (10.03) 74.8 (3.64) 66.9 (6.16) 85.6 (3.25) 72.1 (8.37) 0.2 (0.16) (†) 6.0 (2.11) 63.2 (8.67) 1.7 (1.23) 24.6 (5.91) 75.6 (7.26)
Technologists and technicians, except
    health and engineering
53.0 (6.49) 64.3 (2.84) 59.6 (5.07) 70.2 (3.32) 33.8 (8.53) (†) (†) 7.1 (3.19) 29.1 (7.68) (†) 6.2 (2.14) 76.0 (8.80)
Marketing and sales occupations 34.4 (2.38) 44.2 (1.34) 44.4 (2.73) 51.1 (2.10) 45.7 (3.00) 1.7 (0.59) 0.4 (0.26) 4.5 (0.88) 30.2 (2.77) 1.4 (0.80) 21.5 (2.43) 68.9 (3.37)
Administrative support occupations,
    including clerical
29.9 (1.74) 51.7 (1.25) 50.1 (2.29) 58.7 (1.72) 54.6 (2.70) 1.1 (0.53) (†) 6.6 (0.98) 33.5 (2.70) 1.3 (0.63) 27.7 (2.18) 73.8 (2.33)
Service occupations 25.2 (1.82) 46.5 (1.38) 50.9 (2.74) 49.3 (2.24) 44.7 (2.47) 1.6 (0.39) 1.9 (0.88) 6.8 (1.42) 28.5 (2.64) 1.4 (0.57) 17.5 (2.10) 65.4 (2.71)
Agriculture, forestry, and fishing
    occupations
14.3 (5.19) 26.4 (3.55) 34.3 (7.16) 46.4 (6.80) 44.4 (9.02) 3.9 (3.49) 5.7 (4.02) 1.1 (0.89) 20.3 (6.92) 2.3 (1.53) 21.6 (10.05) 64.0 (10.03)
Mechanics and repairers 32.1 (4.72) 47.6 (2.70) 42.2 (5.44) 35.1 (3.40) 40.1 (5.10) 0.5 (0.40) (†) 6.0 (1.89) 27.4 (4.26) 3.8 (1.38) 12.7 (3.18) 69.3 (4.27)
Construction and extractive
    occupations
21.9 (3.38) 38.0 (2.45) 34.5 (4.78) 32.3 (3.19) 27.6 (3.73) 1.2 (0.68) 1.1 (0.49) 3.2 (1.08) 12.3 (2.54) 5.2 (1.89) 11.4 (2.72) 72.3 (4.48)
Precision production2  31.2 (6.09) 43.0 (4.32) 38.3 (8.48) 35.1 (6.19) 33.0 (3.98) 0.5 (0.37) 0.4 (0.16) 4.2 (1.42) 22.2 (3.41) 1.5 (0.81) 13.3 (2.99) 63.9 (3.46)
Production workers 21.1 (2.31) 30.7 (1.29) 38.0 (3.47) 39.4 (2.82) (†) (†) (†) (†) (†) (†) (†) (†)
Transportation, material moving 20.7 (4.69) 28.4 (2.32) 33.3 (4.25) 30.4 (3.29) 34.6 (5.27) 4.7 (3.29) 3.3 (2.35) 1.3 (0.76) 14.7 (2.63) 3.2 (1.57) 11.2 (2.85) 60.8 (4.98)
Handler, equipment, cleaners,
    helpers, and laborers
20.8 (3.49) 25.1 (2.70) 19.6 (4.56) 18.2 (3.20) (†) (†) (†) (†) (†) (†) (†) (†)
Miscellaneous occupations (†) 56.6 (3.61) 43.0 (7.98) 64.9 (7.07) 39.2 (11.25) (†) (†) (†) 15.7 (5.81) (†) 7.8 (3.63) 52.2 (12.32)
                                                 
Annual household income                                                
$5,000 or less 13.6 (1.70) 21.3 (1.59) 21.0 (3.22) 25.1 (2.92) 35.9 (4.83) 3.3 (2.17) 1.8 (1.04) 3.6 (1.52) 13.7 (4.00) 2.3 (1.89) 17.2 (3.59) 52.9 (4.97)
$5,001 to $10,000 17.5 (2.14) 23.9 (1.37) 24.5 (3.39) 28.0 (2.74) 29.6 (4.49) 2.4 (0.92) 1.5 (0.71) 1.7 (0.81) 8.4 (2.11) (†) 21.8 (4.75) 61.0 (3.75)
$10,001 to $15,000 22.8 (2.60) 26.7 (1.61) 22.8 (2.45) 28.6 (2.30) 25.0 (3.41) 2.4 (0.69) 0.8 (0.33) 3.3 (1.17) 11.3 (2.52) 0.9 (0.66) 15.5 (3.14) 58.6 (4.43)
$15,001 to $20,000 21.9 (2.35) 31.8 (1.55) 31.4 (2.75) 30.2 (2.48) 24.3 (2.54) 1.0 (0.38) 0.5 (0.30) 3.3 (1.19) 10.1 (1.37) 2.6 (1.20) 12.9 (2.00) 61.1 (3.17)
$20,001 to $25,000 26.7 (3.20) 31.4 (1.27) 35.8 (2.81) 35.2 (2.27) 28.2 (2.51) 1.7 (0.78) 1.9 (0.62) 4.4 (1.26) 12.8 (2.04) 1.1 (0.50) 13.6 (1.88) 63.2 (3.11)
$25,001 to $30,000 32.1 (2.51) 37.9 (1.47) 36.7 (2.61) 38.3 (2.43) 38.6 (3.63) 1.4 (0.72) 1.3 (0.61) 6.8 (2.09) 20.2 (3.37) 0.7 (0.38) 18.4 (2.52) 71.0 (3.38)
$30,001 to $40,000 35.6 (1.84) 42.7 (0.86) 45.2 (2.05) 44.6 (1.54) 42.7 (2.65) 1.9 (0.65) 1.0 (0.49) 3.7 (0.68) 22.8 (2.27) 1.1 (0.39) 23.0 (2.49) 68.7 (2.36)
$40,001 to $50,000 44.8 (1.84) 46.8 (1.39) 47.9 (2.31) 49.1 (1.93) 41.4 (2.92) 1.6 (0.53) 2.4 (1.25) 2.9 (0.55) 22.4 (2.00) 1.5 (0.56) 20.5 (2.47) 71.9 (2.62)
$50,001 to $75,000 46.6 (2.03) 52.0 (0.94) 55.1 (1.80) 55.7 (1.48) 47.7 (1.74) 0.4 (0.19) 0.3 (0.17) 5.8 (0.69) 33.0 (1.37) 0.9 (0.36) 20.5 (1.67) 70.6 (2.15)
More than $75,000 48.7 (3.15) 58.0 (1.27) 56.9 (1.66) (†) (†) (†) (†) (†) (†) (†) (†) (†)
$75,001 to $100,000 (†) (†) (†) 59.7 (1.91) 56.4 (2.28) 2.2 (1.17) 0.3 (0.19) 7.5 (0.89) 38.6 (2.26) 1.8 (0.64) 25.3 (1.51) 75.0 (1.97)
More than $100,000 (†) (†) (†) 59.3 (1.82) 58.4 (2.11) (†) 0.7 (0.38) 6.1 (0.70) 39.4 (1.80) 0.8 (0.44) 28.2 (1.62) 81.2 (1.68)
—Not available.
†Not applicable.
‡Reporting standards not met.
1 Includes college and university degree programs, post-degree certificate programs, and vocational certificate programs.
2 For 2005, figures include "Production workers" occupations data.
NOTE: Adult education is defined as all education activities, except full-time enrollment in higher education credential programs. Data do not include persons enrolled in high school or below. Race categories exclude persons of Hispanic ethnicity. Standard errors appear in parentheses.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Adult Education Survey (AE-NHES:1991, AE-NHES:1995, AE-NHES:1999, and AE-NHES:2005) and Adult Education and Lifelong Learning Survey (AELL-NHES:2001) of the National Household Education Surveys Program. (This table was prepared November 2010.)
Would you like to help us improve our products and website by taking a short survey?

YES, I would like to take the survey

or

No Thanks

The survey consists of a few short questions and takes less than one minute to complete.
National Center for Education Statistics - http://nces.ed.gov
U.S. Department of Education