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Chapter 6: Outcomes of Education

The final chapter of this report discusses measures of educational outcomes for adults. Indicator 25 looks at educational attainment among adults age 25 and older. In 2014, the percentage of adults who had earned at least a bachelor's degree was highest for Asian adults (52 percent). Among the other racial/ethnic groups, 34 percent of White adults, 32 percent of adults of Two or more races, 20 percent of Black adults, 15 percent of Pacific Islander adults, and 14 percent each of American Indian/Alaska Native adults and Hispanic adults had earned at least a bachelor's degree.

Adults with higher levels of education had higher median incomes and lower unemployment rates than their less educated peers. This pattern varied by race/ethnicity. In 2014, among adults ages 25 to 64 who had not completed high school, higher percentages of Black and American Indian/Alaska Native adults (both 22 percent) were unemployed than of White adults (13 percent), Hispanic adults (8 percent), and Asian adults (7 percent) (Indicator 26). In general, lower levels of education were associated with higher unemployment rates for each racial/ethnic group in 2014. For example, the unemployment rate for Black adults without a high school credential was 22 percent, compared with 13 percent for Black adults with a high school credential and 5 percent for Black adults with at least a bachelor's degree.

Among all young adults ages 20 to 24, a higher percentage of American Indian/Alaska Native young adults (38 percent) were neither enrolled in school nor working in 2014 than of Black (23 percent), Pacific Islander and Hispanic (both22 percent), White (15 percent), and Asian (9 percent) young adults, as well as young adults of Two or more races (17 percent) (Indicator 27).

In 2014, median annual earnings of full-time year-round workers ages 25–34 were $40,000 (Indicator 28). In general, higher levels of educational attainment were associated with higher median annual earnings for 25- to 34-year-old full- time workers. Median annual earnings were $25,000 for those who did not complete high school, $30,000 for those who completed high school, and $52,000 for those with a bachelor's or higher degree. Similar patterns emerged across most racial/ethnic groups. Additionally, differences in median annual earnings were found between racial/ethnic groups at each level of educational attainment. For example, among those with a bachelor's or higher degree, median annual earnings of Asian full-time workers ages 25–34 ($61,200) were higher than those of their White ($52,800), Black ($46,800), and Hispanic ($47,400) peers.