The final chapter of this report discusses three measures of educational outcomes in adults. Indicator 26 looks at educational attainment and completion. From 1990 to 2005, all racial/ethnic groups shown experienced an increase in the percentage of adults ages 25 and over who had completed high school, and the percentages of White, Black, Hispanic, Asian/Pacific Islander, and American Indian/Alaska Native adults with bachelor's degrees also increased. During the same time period, the gap between White and Black adults in terms of high school completions narrowed, while there was no measurable change in the White-Hispanic high school completion gap. In 2005, higher percentages of Asian/Pacific Islander, White, and Black adults than American Indian/Alaska Native and Hispanic adults had completed at least a bachelor's degrees as their highest level of education.
Adults with higher levels of education earned higher salaries on average and were less likely to be unemployed than their less educated peers. In 2005, about 65 percent of the population was in the labor force, and 6 percent of the labor force was unemployed. For Blacks, the unemployment rate for those who were not high school completers was 24 percent, compared to 11 percent for those who had completed high school and 4 percent for those with a bachelor's or higher degree. For all racial/ethnic groups shown, unemployment rates were lower for those with a bachelor's degree or higher than for those who were high school completers only (indicator 27).
In 2005, the median income for all adults over age 25 was $40,000. For all racial/ethnic groups shown, median income increased as educational attainment increased. The median income for people with advanced degrees ($65,100) was more than twice the median income for those with high school completion as their highest level of education ($30,300) (indicator 28).