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Youth Indicators, 2005: Trends in the Well-Being of American Youth

Indicator 18: Educational Aspirations

Figure 18. Percentage of 10th-graders who expected to attain various levels of education: 1980, 1990, and 2002

Percentage of 10th-graders who expected to attain various levels of education: 1980, 1990, and 2002
SOURCE: Rasinski, K.A., Ingels, S.J., Rock, D.A., Pollack, J.M., and Wu, S-C. (1993). America's High School Sophomores: A Ten Year Comparison (NCES 93-087), table 6.1 (1980 and 1990 data) and previously unpublished tabulation (2002 data). Data from U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, High School and Beyond Longitudinal Study of 1980 Sophomores (HS&B-So:80); National Education Longitudinal Study of 1988 (NELS:88/90), 'First Follow-up, 1990;' and Education Longitudinal Study of 2002, Base Year (ELS :2002).

The proportion of 10th-graders expecting to attain bachelor's degrees and the proportion expecting to attain higher degrees increased from 1980 to 1990 and again from 1990 to 2002. The proportion of 10th-graders expecting to complete a bachelor's as their highest degree nearly doubled (from 23 to 40 percent) over this 22-year period. In addition, the proportion of students expecting to earn a graduate or professional degree rose from 18 percent in 1980 to 40 percent in 2002. Correspondingly, the proportions expecting to complete no formal education beyond high school declined, from 27 percent in 1980 to 9 percent in 2002. In 1980, the percentages of males and females who expected to receive graduate or professional degrees were about the same, but in 2002, 47 percent of females planned to complete an advanced degree, compared to 33 percent of males.


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