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

Indicator 20: School Completion

Figure 20. Percentage of 25- to 29-year-olds who have not completed high school and percentage who completed a bachelorís or higher degree: Various years, 1960 to 2004

Percentage of 25- to 29-year-olds who have not completed high school and percentage who completed a bachelorís or higher degree: Various years, 1960 to 2004
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Digest of Education Statistics, 2004, based on U.S. Department of Commerce, Census Bureau, Current Population Surveys (CPS), March, various years.

Young adults have attained higher levels of education over the past several decades. The percentage of 25- to 29-year-olds who had completed a bachelor's or higher degree increased from 11 percent in 1960 to 22 percent in 1975. There was no significant change in the proportion of 25- to 29-year-olds who completed a bachelor's or higher degree between 1975 and 1985; however, completion rates rose again from 22 percent in 1985 to 29 percent in 2000, with no measurable difference since. Although overall college completion rates increased, there continue to be disparities among racial/ethnic groups. The proportion of Hispanics who completed higher education was smaller than the proportions for their Black and White peers. In 2004, 11 percent of Hispanic 25- to 29-year-olds had earned a bachelor's or higher degree compared to 17 percent of Black non-Hispanics and 34 percent of White non-Hispanics of the same age group.


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