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Indicators

Disparities in Educational Outcomes Among Male Youth
(Last Updated: May 2015)

In 2013, the percentage of males ages 25–29 who had completed a bachelor's or higher degree was higher for Asians (55 percent) than for Whites (37 percent), those of Two or more races (29 percent), Blacks (17 percent), and Hispanics (13 percent). This percentage was also higher for White males and males of Two or more races than for their Hispanic and Black peers.

The United States has seen progress in many areas related to the education of its young people. Despite these achievements, disparities in educational and other outcomes persist in the aggregate for male youth compared to their female peers in general, and for boys and young men of color in particular.1 In February 2014, President Barack Obama launched My Brother's Keeper, an initiative designed to help address underlying issues and improve the expected life outcomes for those boys and young men of color who continue to struggle.2 As part of this undertaking, the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics and many of its component agencies, including the U.S. Department of Education, were tasked with making available relevant statistics to track progress in closing gaps.3 With a focus on boys and young men of color,4 this Spotlight features a selection of national-level measures using data from the latest available year to describe the educational pipeline that young people navigate. Information on certain measures that tend to be associated with educational outcomes, such as household poverty, are also included to frame the education data in the broader context of young people's lives.


Figure 1. Percentage distribution of males ages 0–17, by race/ethnicity and presence of parents in household: 2013

Figure 1. Percentage distribution of males ages 0–17, by race/ethnicity and presence of parents in household: 2013

NOTE: "Two parents" refers to all children who have both a mother and father identified in the household, including biological, step, and adoptive parents. "Mother only" and "father only" refer to children for whom only one parent in the household has been identified, whether biological, step, or adoptive. Race categories exclude persons of Hispanic ethnicity. "Other" includes race and ethnicity categories such as American Indian or Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander.
SOURCE: U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic Supplements, 2013. Retrieved May 2015, from http://mbk.ed.gov/data/.


Living with two parents is associated with positive educational, economic, and other life outcomes.5 The majority of male youth ages 0–17 lived with two parents in 2013 (87 percent of Asians, 77 percent of Whites, and 65 percent of Hispanics); Black males were the exception: 38 percent lived with two parents. Instead, 50 percent of young Black males lived with only their mother. Families headed by single parents, particularly single mothers, are associated with a higher incidence of poverty.6


Figure 2. Percentage of males ages 0–17 in poverty, by race/ethnicity: 2012

Figure 2. Percentage of males ages 0–17 in poverty, by race/ethnicity: 2012

NOTE: Race categories exclude persons of Hispanic ethnicity. "Other" includes race and ethnicity categories such as American Indian or Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander.
SOURCE: U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic Supplements, 2012. Retrieved May 2015, from http://mbk.ed.gov/data/.


The percentages of Black and Hispanic males ages 0–17 living in poverty in 2012 (38 and 33 percent, respectively) were higher than the percentages for Whites and Asians (12 percent each). There were no measurable differences between males and females (overall or within the racial/ ethnic groups) in the percentages of children living in different household types or the percentage living in poverty. Research suggests that living in poverty during early childhood is associated with lower than average academic performance that begins in kindergarten7 and extends through elementary and high school. Living in poverty during early childhood is also associated with lower than average rates of school completion.1

Regarding academic performance, gaps in learning behaviors, knowledge, and skills among children in various racial/ethnic groups are found as early as infancy, preschool, and kindergarten.8,9 Differences in achievement are also observed in the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) at grades 4, 8, and 12.10 As the 12th grade marks a key period of transition from school to postsecondary education and the labor force, reading and mathematics scores at grade 12 are highlighted here.


Figure 3. Average reading scale scores of 12th-grade students, by race/ethnicity and sex: 2013

Figure 3. Average reading scale scores of 12th-grade students, by race/ethnicity and sex: 2013

‡ Reporting standards not met. Either there are too few cases for a reliable estimate or the coefficient of variation (CV) is 50 percent or greater.
NOTE: The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) reading scale ranges from 0 to 500. Race categories exclude persons of Hispanic ethnicity.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, National Assessment of Educational Progress, 2013. Retrieved May 2015, from http://mbk.ed.gov/data/.


NAEP reading scores11 in 2013 were higher at grade 12 for female than male students overall (292 vs. 282) and for students in most of the racial/ethnic groups; however, the apparent difference for students of Two or more races was not significant. Among 12th-grade males, Asians (291), Whites (290), and those of Two or more races (288) scored higher, on average, than Hispanics (272), American Indians/Alaska Natives (266), and Blacks (262); Hispanic males also scored higher than Black males.

Average reading scores were higher in 2013 than in 2002 for 12th-grade males who were White (290 vs. 281) and Asian (291 vs. 280), but no measurable differences were found for males in the other racial/ethnic groups for which data were available.


Figure 4. Average mathematics scale scores of 12th-grade students, by race/ethnicity and sex: 2013

Figure 4. Average mathematics scale scores of 12th-grade students, by race/ethnicity and sex: 2013

‡ Reporting standards not met. Either there are too few cases for a reliable estimate or the coefficient of variation (CV) is 50 percent or greater.
NOTE: The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) mathematics scale ranges from 0 to 300 at grade 12. Race categories exclude persons of Hispanic ethnicity.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, National Assessment of Educational Progress, 2013. Retrieved May 2015, from http://mbk.ed.gov/data/.


In contrast to the reading scores, NAEP mathematics scores,12 were higher overall for males than for females among students in 12th grade in 2013 (154 vs. 151). Math scores were also higher for male than female students among Whites (162 vs. 160) and Asians (176 vs. 171), but not measurably different between male and female students in the other racial/ethnic groups. Among male 12th-grade students, Asians had the highest average math score (176); scores were also higher for White males (162) and males of Two or more races (157) than for Hispanic (141), American Indian/Alaska Native (140), and Black males (132). In addition, Hispanic males scored higher than Black males in the 12th grade.


Figure 5. Average mathematics scale scores of male 12th-grade students, by race/ethnicity: 2005 and 2013

Figure 5. Average mathematics scale scores of male 12th-grade students, by race/ethnicity: 2005 and 2013

— Not available.
‡ Reporting standards not met. Either there are too few cases for a reliable estimate or the coefficient of variation (CV) is 50 percent or greater.
1 2005 data include Pacific Islander students.
NOTE: The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) mathematics scale ranges from 0 to 300 at grade 12. Race categories exclude persons of Hispanic ethnicity.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, National Assessment of Educational Progress, 2005 and 2013. Retrieved May 2015, from http://mbk.ed.gov/data/.


Average mathematics scores were higher in 2013 than in 2005 for 12th-grade males in each racial/ethnic group for which data were available: White (162 vs. 157), Black (132 vs. 126), Hispanic (141 vs. 133), and Asian (176 vs. 163).

Following secondary education, many young people make transitions to employment, further schooling, or both. Some, however, engage in delinquent or criminal behaviors and enter the juvenile or adult correction systems. Research indicates that contact with these systems typically impacts youth negatively by, among other things, interrupting their education and increasing the likelihood that they will drop out of school altogether.13 Criminal convictions can also have a negative impact on employment outcomes.14


Figure 6. Rate per 100,000 of placement of juveniles in residential facilities, by race/ethnicity and sex: 2011

Figure 6. Rate per 100,000 of placement of juveniles in residential facilities, by race/ethnicity and sex: 2011

NOTE: Data from the Census of Juveniles in Residential Placement (CJRP) are based on a 1-day count of youth younger than age 21 held in a juvenile residential placement facility for an offense. CJRP does not include facilities used exclusively for abused/neglected children, mental health, or drug treatment. Nor are federal or adult jails or prisons included. Therefore, counts based on CJRP data do not include youth younger than 18 tried in criminal courts and confined in adult correctional facilities. Rate is per 100,000 persons ages 12 through the extended age of juvenile court jurisdiction in each state. More information about the extended age of juvenile court jurisdiction can be found at http://www.ojjdp.gov/ojstatbb/structure_process/qa04106.asp. Data for Pacific Islanders and those of Two or more races are not available. Race categories exclude persons of Hispanic ethnicity.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Census of Juveniles in Residential Placement, Easy Access to Juvenile Populations, 2011. Retrieved May 2015, from http://mbk.ed.gov/data/.


The rate of juvenile placement in residential correction facilities15 in 2011 was about 6 times higher for males than females (280 per 100,000 persons vs. 46 per 100,000 persons). This rate was also considerably higher for Black male youth than for male or female youth of any other racial/ethnic group. The rate of residential placement for Black males in 2011 was 733 per 100,000, which was 1.5 times the rate for American Indian/Alaska Native males (486 per 100,000), more than twice the rate for Hispanic males (312 per 100,000), nearly 5 times the rate for White males (153 per 100,000), and over 14 times the rate for Asian males (50 per 100,000). Black males made up over one-third (35 percent) of all youth in residential placement in 2011.

Additionally, males ages 18–24 had notably higher rates of imprisonment in state facilities16 than females in 2012: the rate was 1,060 per 100,000 persons for males versus 65 per 100,000 persons for females. Moreover, the imprisonment rate for Black males was substantially higher than the rate for males or females of any other racial/ethnic subgroup. For example, the 2012 imprisonment rate for Black males (3,102 per 100,000) was more than twice the rate for Hispanic males (1,165 per 100,000), nearly 7 times the rate for White males (446 per 100,000), and more than 26 times the rate for Black females (118 per 100,000). In 2012, Black males made up 41 percent of all imprisoned young adults ages 18–24 (see My Brother's Keeper Data).


Figure 7. Percentage of 18- to 24-year-olds who have not completed high school, by race/ethnicity and sex: 2014

Figure 7. Percentage of 18- to 24-year-olds who have not completed high school, by race/ethnicity and sex: 2014

! Interpret data with caution. The coefficient of variation (CV) for this estimate is between 30 and 50 percent.
‡ Reporting standards not met. Either there are too few cases for a reliable estimate or the coefficient of variation (CV) is 50 percent or greater.
NOTE: Data are based on sample surveys of the civilian noninstitutional population. Race categories exclude persons of Hispanic ethnicity. SOURCE: U.S. Department of Commerce, Census Bureau, Current Population Survey, 2014. Retrieved May 2015, from http://mbk.ed.gov/data/.


In terms of educational attainment,17 a higher percentage of male than female 18- to 24-year-olds (young adults) had not completed high school in 2014; this was true both overall (19 vs. 15 percent) and among Whites (16 vs. 12 percent) and Hispanics (28 vs. 21 percent). There was no measurable difference between males and females in the other racial/ethnic groups. Among male young adults, a higher percentage of Hispanics (28 percent) than Blacks (20 percent), Whites (16 percent), and Asians (11 percent) had not completed high school. In addition, this percentage was higher for Black males than for White males and Asian males.


Figure 8. Percentage of male 18- to 24-year-olds who have not completed high school, by race/ethnicity: 2000 and 2014

Figure 8. Percentage of male 18- to 24-year-olds who have not completed high school, by race/ethnicity: 2000 and 2014

— Not available.
‡ Reporting standards not met. Either there are too few cases for a reliable estimate or the coefficient of variation (CV) is 50 percent or greater.
1 Data for 2000 include Pacific Islanders.
NOTE: Data are based on sample surveys of the civilian noninstitutional population. Race categories exclude persons of Hispanic ethnicity.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Commerce, Census Bureau, Current Population Survey, 2000 and 2014. Retrieved May 2015, from http://mbk.ed.gov/data/.


From 2000 to 2014, the percentage of male young adults who had not completed high school decreased in most racial/ethnic groups: White (20 vs. 16 percent), Black (33 vs. 20 percent), Hispanic (46 vs. 28 percent), and Asian (20 vs. 11 percent). The decreases for Blacks and Hispanics were among the largest observed for male young adults of any racial/ethnic group for which data were available.


Figure 9. Percentage of 18- to 24-year-olds enrolled in 2- and 4-year colleges, by race/ethnicity and sex: 2013

Figure 9. Percentage of 18- to 24-year-olds enrolled in 2- and 4-year colleges, by race/ethnicity and sex: 2013

! Interpret data with caution. The coefficient of variation (CV) for this estimate is between 30 and 50 percent.
‡ Reporting standards not met. Either there are too few cases for a reliable estimate or the coefficient of variation (CV) is 50 percent or greater.
NOTE: Data are based on sample surveys of the civilian noninstitutional population. Race categories exclude persons of Hispanic ethnicity.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Commerce, Census Bureau, Current Population Survey, 2013. Retrieved May 2015, from http://mbk.ed.gov/data/.


People with higher levels of education tend to have better economic outcomes than their peers with lower levels of education.18 For example, in 2014, the employment rate for persons ages 25‐64 with a bachelor's or higher degree was 82 percent, compared with a rate of 73 percent for those with some college education but no degree and a rate of 55 percent for those with no high school credential (see Digest of Education Statistics 2014, table 501.50). Differences in progress toward achieving these higher education levels were noted among young adults in 2013. Among persons ages 18–24, a higher percentage of females than males were enrolled in a 2- or 4-year college in 2013, both overall (43 vs. 37 percent) and among Whites, Blacks, Hispanics, and American Indians/Alaska Natives. Among male young adults, a higher percentage of Asians (64 percent) were enrolled in college than their peers who were of Two or more races (48 percent), White (38 percent), Black (31 percent), Hispanic (29 percent), and American Indian/Alaska Native (19 percent). This percentage was also higher for males who were of Two or more races and White males than for Black, Hispanic, and American Indian/Alaska Native males.


Figure 10. Percentage of male 18- to 24-year-olds enrolled in 2- and 4-year colleges, by race/ethnicity: 2000 and 2013

Figure 10. Percentage of male 18- to 24-year-olds enrolled in 2- and 4-year colleges, by race/ethnicity: 2000 and 2013

— Not available.
! Interpret data with caution. The coefficient of variation (CV) for this estimate is between 30 and 50 percent.
‡ Reporting standards not met. Either there are too few cases for a reliable estimate or the coefficient of variation (CV) is 50 percent or greater.
1 Data for 2000 include Pacific Islanders.
NOTE: Data are based on sample surveys of the civilian noninstitutional population. Race categories exclude persons of Hispanic ethnicity.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Commerce, Census Bureau, Current Population Survey, 2000 and 2013. Retrieved May 2015, from http://mbk.ed.gov/data/.


From 2000 to 2013, the percentage of male young adults who were enrolled in college increased for Blacks (25 vs. 31 percent) and Hispanics (18 vs. 29 percent). No measurable differences were observed for male young adults in the other racial/ethnic groups during this period.


Figure 11. Percentage of 25- to 29-year-olds who have completed a bachelor's or higher degree, by race/ethnicity and sex: 2013

Figure 11. Percentage of 25- to 29-year-olds who have completed a bachelor's or higher degree, by race/ethnicity and sex: 2013

! Interpret data with caution. The coefficient of variation (CV) for this estimate is between 30 and 50 percent.
‡ Reporting standards not met. Either there are too few cases for a reliable estimate or the coefficient of variation (CV) is 50 percent or greater.
NOTE: Data are based on sample surveys of the civilian noninstitutional population. Race categories exclude persons of Hispanic ethnicity.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Commerce, Census Bureau, Current Population Survey, 2013. See Digest of Education Statistics 2014, table 104.20.


In 2013, the percentage of persons ages 25–29 who had completed a bachelor's or higher degree was also higher for females than for males overall (37 vs. 30 percent) and among Whites, Blacks, Hispanics, and Asians. For males ages 25–29, the percentage who had completed a bachelor's or higher degree was higher for Asians (55 percent) than for Whites (37 percent), those of Two or more races (29 percent), Blacks (17 percent), and Hispanics (13 percent). This percentage was higher for White males and males of Two or more races than for their Hispanic and Black peers; it was also higher for Black males than for Hispanic males.

From 2003 to 2013, the percentage of males ages 25–29 who had completed a bachelor's or higher degree increased for Whites (31 vs. 37 percent) and Hispanics (8 vs. 13 percent). No measurable differences were found during this period for males ages 25–29 who were Black, Asian, American Indian/Alaska Native, or of Two or more races.


1 Ross, T., Kena, G., Rathbun, A., KewalRamani, A., Zhang, J., Kristapovich, P., and Manning, E. (2012). Higher Education: Gaps in Access and Persistence Study (NCES 2012-046). U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office.
2 Presidential Memorandum—Creating and Expanding Ladders of Opportunity for Boys and Young Men of Color, http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/02/27/presidential-memorandum-creating-and-expanding-ladders-opportunity-boys-, accessed December 2014.
3 More information can be found at http://mbk.ed.gov/data/.
4 To a large extent, the phrase "boys and young men of color" refers to males who are Black, Hispanic, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, and American Indian or Alaska Native. In most of the reference datasets, data are reported for each of these groups. In a few of the datasets, data are reported for Blacks, Hispanics, and persons of "Other" races and ethnicities. The "Other" group generally includes races and ethnicities such as Asian, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, American Indian or Alaska Native, and Two or more races.
5 Child Trends Databank. (2014). Family structure. Available at http://www.childtrends.org/?indicators=family-structure, accessed January 2015.
6 U.S. Census Bureau, Historical Poverty Tables—Families. Retrieved February 2015, from https://www.census.gov/hhes/www/poverty/data/historical/families.html.
7 Mulligan, G.M., Hastedt, S., and McCarroll, J.C. (2012). First-Time Kindergartners in 2010–11: First Findings From the Kindergarten Rounds of the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 2010–11 (ECLS-K:2011) (NCES 2012-049). U.S. Department of Education. Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics.
8 The Condition of Education 2009: See Early Development of Children and Knowledge and Skills of Young Children.
9 Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics. America's Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, 2013. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.
10 More information can be found at http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/.
11 The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) assesses student performance in reading at grades 4, 8, and 12. NAEP reading scores range from 0 to 500.
12 NAEP mathematics scores range from 0 to 500 for grades 4 and 8. At grade 12, mathematics scores range from 0 to 300, following a revision to the assessment in 2005.
13 Holman, B. and Ziedenberg, J. (2006). The Dangers of Detention: The Impact of Incarcerating Youth in Detention and Other Secure Congregate Facilities. Baltimore, Maryland: Annie E. Casey Foundation.
14 Solomon, A.L. (2012). In Search of a Job: Criminal Records as Barriers to Employment. NIJ Journal, 270: 42-51.
15 This rate is per 100,000 persons ages 12 through the extended age of juvenile court jurisdiction in each state. More information can be found at http://www.ojjdp.gov/ojstatbb/structure_process/qa04106.asp. The extended age varies by state, but most set the age limit at 20. Data are based on a 1-day count of youth younger than age 21 held in a juvenile residential placement facility for an offense.
16 In 2012, admissions to state prisons made up 91 percent of all admissions to prisons (including both federal and state). Prisoners in 2012: Trends in Admissions and Releases, 1991-2012, NCJ 243920.
17 The educational attainment data do not include persons in institutionalized settings, such as prisons and correctional facilities. Therefore, understatement or overstatement of the data for groups with comparably high percentages of people in these populations is possible.
18 The Condition of Education 2015: See Employment Rates and Unemployment Rates by Educational Attainment and Annual Earnings of Young Adults.


Glossary Terms

Data Sources

Common Core of Data (CCD), Current Population Survey (CPS), National Assessment of Educational Progress; National Corrections Reporting Program Year-end Census Records, National Prisoner Statistics Program; Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention's Census of Juveniles in Residential Placement, Easy Access to Juvenile Populations