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Chapter 7: Postsecondary Outcomes and Employment

Indicator 45: Median Annual Earnings

Median annual earnings for young adults ages 25 to 34 with a bachelor's or higher degree who worked full time and throughout a full year were $50,300 in 2010. Males out-earned females by about $9,100 ($54,400 vs. $45,300); this earnings difference by sex was also observed among Whites, Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, and young adults of two or more races.

The 2010 median annual earnings of young adults ages 25 to 34 who worked full time throughout a full year were $36,200. Median earnings for these young adults ranged from $21,100 for young adults who had not completed high school to $50,300 for those who had earned a bachelor's or higher degree. For young adults who had earned a bachelor's or higher degree and held a bachelor's degree in a science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) field of study, median earnings were $58,200. Median earnings for these young adults ranged from $44,300 for those with a bachelor's degree in agriculture/natural resources to $68,400 for young adults with a bachelor's degree in engineering/engineering technologies. Median earnings for young adults also differed by sex, race/ethnicity, nativity, and citizenship status.

Young adults whose highest level of educational attainment was high school completion had median earnings of $29,200 in 2010. Median earnings for males in this group exceeded those for females by about $5,100 ($30,200 vs. $25,100). Median earnings were also higher for male than female high school completers among Whites, Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, and Native Hawaiians/ Pacific Islanders. For example, the earnings gap between Black males and females in this group was $3,600. Concerning racial/ethnic differences, median earnings were lower for Black ($25,200), Hispanic ($25,200), and American Indian ($24,700) young adult high school completers than for Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander ($34,500), White ($30,200), Asian ($29,900), and young adult high school completers of two or more races ($29,800). Similar differences in earnings by race/ ethnicity were observed among male young adults in this group. With regard to nativity, Hispanic high school completers who were born within the United States out-earned their peers who were born elsewhere ($29,100 vs. $23,400). There was no measurable difference in earnings between Asian high school completers who were born in the United States and their foreign-born peers ($30,100 vs. $28,100). Regarding citizenship, median earnings for those who had completed high school were lower for noncitizens ($23,900) than for U.S.-born citizens and naturalized citizens ($30,200 and $29,000, respectively).

Median annual earnings for young adults with a bachelor's or higher degree were $50,300 in 2010. Male earnings exceeded female earnings by about $9,100 ($54,400 vs. $45,300); this difference by sex was also observed among Whites, Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, and young adults of two or more races. For instance, the earnings difference by sex for Hispanics was around $6,500 ($49,800 vs. $43,200). Several differences in earnings were observed by race/ethnicity overall and among males and females. Asian young adults with a bachelor's or higher degree earned more than their peers in the other racial/ethnic groups ($60,200 vs. $37,900 to $50,000, respectively) and Hispanics ($45,300) earned more than Blacks ($43,200) and American Indians ($37,900); similar patterns also held among males. Hispanic young adults with a bachelor's or higher degree who were born within the United States had higher median earnings than their foreign-born counterparts ($47,200 vs. $40,300), whereas Asian young adults who were born within the United States had lower median earnings than their foreign-born counterparts ($57,300 vs. $60,300). Median earnings for noncitizens ($55,000) and naturalized citizens with a bachelor's or higher degree ($51,700) were higher than those for U.S.-born citizens ($48,400); earnings were also higher for non-U.S. citizens than for naturalized citizens.

For young adults with a bachelor's or higher degree who had earned a bachelor's degree in a STEM field (STEM graduates), median annual earnings were $58,200; male earnings exceeded those for females by about $8,200 ($60,400 vs. $52,200). This pattern by sex also held for Whites, Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, and young adults of two or more races. For example, the earnings gap between males and females was about $7,100 for Hispanics in this group ($53,300 vs. $46,200). Median earnings were higher for Asian STEM graduates ($66,400) than their peers in the other racial/ethnic groups ($44,100 to $56,300). This pattern was also found among both the male and female subgroups. Hispanic STEM graduates who were born within the United States had higher median earnings than their peers who were born outside of the United States ($53,100 vs. $44,400). No measurable differences were found between the median earnings of Asian STEM graduates who were born within the United States and their peers not born in the United States ($63,800 vs. $67,800). Median earnings for both naturalized citizens ($62,600) and noncitizens ($60,400) exceeded those for U.S.-born citizens ($55,800) among STEM graduates.

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 liv 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. Employment status refers to the full calendar week prior to the week when the respondent answered the questions. Full-year worker refers to those who were employed 50 or more weeks during the previous year; full-time worker refers to those who were usually employed 35 or more hours per week. High school completion includes a high school diploma or an equivalent credential, including a General Educational Development (GED) certificate. STEM fields, as defined here, include agriculture and natural resources, biology and biomedical sciences, computer and information sciences, engineering and engineering technologies, health professions and clinical sciences, mathematics and statistics, and physical sciences and science technologies. Respondents were allowed to indicate two major undergraduate fields of study; data reflect the first reported field of study. Thus, this indicator provides information on the percentage of graduates in undergraduate STEM fields, but does not provide an indication of the percentage of graduates in other fields who also took significant amounts of STEM coursework or those who have a second major in a STEM field. Data are assembled based on major field aggregations. In the major field aggregations that were not classified as STEM, some individual fields could be classified as STEM (such as econometrics within social sciences and history). 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.

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Figure 45-1 Median annual earnings of full-time, full-year wage and salary workers ages 25 to 34, by sex, race/ethnicity, and highest level of educational attainment: 2010

Table E-45-1 Median annual earnings of full-time, full-year wage and salary workers ages 25 to 34, by highest level of educational attainment, sex, race/ethnicity, nativity, and citizenship status: 2010

Table E-45-2 Median annual earnings of full-time, full-year wage and salary workers ages 25 to 34 with a bachelorís or higher degree, by undergraduate field of study, sex, race/ethnicity, nativity, and citizenship status: 2010


  
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