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Status and Trends in the Education of American Indians and Alaska Natives: 2008

NCES 2008-084
September 2008

Median Annual Earnings


In 2006, American Indian/Alaska Native young adults with a bachelor's degree earned 29 percent more than American Indian/Alaska Native young adult high school completers.

Figure 7.3. Median annual earnings of full-time, full-year wage and salary workers ages 25–34, by race/ethnicity and educational attainment: 2006
Median annual earnings of full-time, full-year wage and salary workers ages 25–34, by race/ethnicity and educational attainment: 2006
1 High school completion includes equivalency (e.g., General Education Development certificate or GED).
NOTE: Full-year worker refers to those who were employed 50 or more weeks the previous year; full-time worker refers to those who were usually employed 35 or more hours per week. Race categories exclude persons of Hispanic ethnicity.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Commerce, Census Bureau, American Community Survey (ACS), Public Use Microdata Sample (PUMS) Files, 2006.

In 2006, the median earnings for young adult full-time, full-year wage and salary workers ages 25–34 was $34,800. The median earnings of Asian ($45,700) and White ($36,600) young adults were greater than the median earnings of their American Indian/Alaska Native peers ($28,400).

There were no measurable differences in earnings among American Indian/Alaska Native young adults with lower levels of educational attainment—those who were not high school completers ($25,400), who were high school completers ($26,400), who had some college experience ($27,400), and who had an associate's degree ($26,400). However, among American Indian/Alaska Native young adults, those who had a bachelor's ($35,500) or graduate degree ($44,700) had higher median earnings than American Indian/ Alaska Native young adults who had completed high school or who had an associate's degree. For example, American Indians/Alaska Natives with a bachelor's degree as their highest level of education earned 26 percent more than those whose highest level of education was high school completion.

Median earnings by educational attainment varied between American Indian/Alaska Native young adults and those of other races/ethnicities. For those with less than a high school education, there were no measurable differences between the median earnings of American Indian/Alaska Native young adults and young adults from other race/ethnicities. Among those who have completed high school as their highest level of education, White young adults had higher median earnings ($30,500) than American Indian/ Alaska Native young adults ($26,400), but there were no measurable differences between American Indian/ Alaska Native young adults who had completed high school and those of other races/ethnicities. Among those with a bachelor's degree as the highest level of education, Asian ($50,800) and White ($44,700) young adults earned more than their American Indian/Alaska Native peers ($35,500). In addition, American Indian/Alaska Native young adults with a graduate degree earned 15 percent less than their White peers and 28 percent less than their Asian peers who had graduate degrees.

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