Skip Navigation
small NCES header image

Chapter 7: Postsecondary Outcomes and Employment

Indicator 43: Educational Attainment

In 2010, the percentage of young adult males ages 25 to 34 who had earned at least a bachelor's degree (27 percent) was lower than the corresponding percentage for their female peers (35 percent). This pattern by sex also held for Whites, Blacks, Hispanics, and persons of two or more races.

Among the more than 41 million young adults ages 25 to 34 in 2010, some 13 percent had not completed high school, 24 percent had completed high school but gone no further, 32 percent had attended some college or had earned an associate's degree, and another 31 percent had earned at least a bachelor's degree. These percentages varied by sex, race/ethnicity, nativity, and citizenship status.

A higher percentage of males than females had not completed high school in 2010 (15 vs. 11 percent). This pattern by sex was also observed among White, Black, and Hispanic young adults, and young adults of two or more races. For instance, 36 percent of Hispanic young adult males had not completed high school, compared with 29 percent of their female peers. Concerning race/ethnicity overall, the percentage of young adults who had not completed high school was highest for Hispanics (32 percent). This percentage was also higher for American Indians (17 percent), Alaska Natives (16 percent), and Blacks (14 percent) than for Whites (7 percent), Asians (5 percent), Native Hawaiians/Pacific Islanders (8 percent), and young adults of two or more races (8 percent).

Differences on this measure also held among the male and female subgroups. For both Hispanic and Asian young adults, the percentage who had not completed high school was higher for those born outside the United States than for their peers who were born within the United States (47 vs. 16 percent and 7 vs. 2 percent, respectively). In terms of citizenship status, a higher percentage of noncitizens than U.S.-born citizens and naturalized citizens had not completed high school (37 vs. 9 and 10 percent, respectively).

The percentage of young adults whose highest level of educational attainment was high school completion was higher for males than females both overall (28 vs. 21 percent) and for most racial/ethnic groups (with the exception of Asians and Native Hawaiians/Pacific Islanders, for whom no measurable differences were found). For example, 53 percent of Alaska Native males had only completed high school versus 36 percent of their female peers. In terms of race/ethnicity, the percentage of young adults who had only completed high school was higher for Alaska Natives (43 percent), Native Hawaiians/Pacific Islanders (35 percent), and American Indians (33 percent) than for Whites (23 percent), Blacks (30 percent), Hispanics (28 percent), and persons of two or more races (22 percent). Differences by race/ethnicity were also observed among both male and female young adults who had completed only high school. For both Hispanics and Asians, the percentage whose highest level of educational attainment was high school completion was equivalent for those born within the United States and their peers who were born outside the United States. Concerning citizenship status, a lower percentage of naturalized citizens than U.S.-born citizens and noncitizens had completed only high school (20 vs. 25 and 24 percent, respectively).

The percentage of young adults whose highest level of educational attainment was a bachelor's or higher degree was lower for males than for females overall (27 vs. 35 percent) as well as for Whites, Blacks, Hispanics, and persons of two or more races. For instance, 15 percent of Black males had earned at least a bachelor's degree, compared with 23 percent of Black females. Across the racial/ethnic groups, the percentage of young adults who had obtained at least a bachelor's degree was higher for Asians (62 percent) and Whites (37 percent) than for Blacks (19 percent), Hispanics (13 percent), Native Hawaiians/Pacific Islanders (14 percent), American Indians (12 percent), and persons of two or more races (32 percent). Differences by race/ethnicity were also observed among both male and female young adults who had earned a bachelor's or higher degree. A lower percentage of Hispanics who were born outside of the United States had earned at least a bachelor's degree than their Hispanic peers who were born within the United States (8 vs. 18 percent). No measurable difference was observed, however, between U.S.-born Asians and their non-U.S.-born peers. Higher percentages of U.S.-born and naturalized citizens than noncitizens had earned at least a bachelor's degree (32 and 38 percent vs. 24 percent, respectively); the percentage for naturalized citizens was also higher than that for U.S.-born citizens.

Technical Notes

Estimates are for the entire population in the indicated age range, including persons in both households and group quarters. A household includes all the persons who occupy a housing unit. A group quarters is a nontypical household-type living arrangement where people live or stay in a group living arrangement that is owned or managed by an entity or organization providing housing and/or services for the residents. Group quarters include such places as college residence halls, residential treatment centers, skilled nursing facilities, group homes, military barracks, correctional facilities, and workers' dormitories. High school completion includes a high school diploma or an equivalent credential, including a General Educational Development (GED) certificate. Born within the United States refers to the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Northern Marianas, and those born abroad of American parents.

Top


Figure 43-1 Percentage of young adults ages 25 to 34 whose highest level of educational attainment was high school completion, by race/ethnicity and sex: 2010

Figure 43-2 Percentage of young adults ages 25 to 34 whose highest level of educational attainment was a bachelor's or higher degree, by race/ethnicity and sex: 2010

Table E-43-1 Number and percentage of young adults ages 25 to 34, by highest level of educational attainment, sex, race/ethnicity, nativity, and citizenship status: 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.