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Indicator 25: Educational Attainment
(Last Updated: July 2017)

In 2014, the percentage of adults age 25 and over who had not completed high school was higher for Hispanic adults (35 percent) than for adults in any other racial/ethnic group (with percentages ranging from a high of 18 percent to a low of 8 percent).

Educational attainment refers to the highest level of education completed (e.g., a high school diploma or equivalency certificate, some college, or a bachelor's degree). In general, higher educational attainment is associated with higher median earnings and higher employment rates.1 This indicator examines educational attainment by race/ethnicity, focusing on adults age 25 and older at the lowest educational attainment level (less than high school completion) and highest educational attainment level (a bachelor's degree or higher) in 2014. The indicator begins with a brief look at the overall change in educational attainment between 2009 and 2014.


Figure 25.1. Percentage of persons age 25 and older, by educational attainment: 2009 and 2014

Figure 25.1. Percentage of persons age 25 and older, by educational attainment: 2009 and 2014


NOTE: High school completers include diploma recipients and those completing high school through alternative credentials, such as a GED. Detail may not sum to totals due to rounding. Although rounded numbers are displayed, the figures are based on unrounded estimates.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Commerce, Census Bureau, American Community Survey, 2009 and 2014. See Digest of Education Statistics 2015, table 104.40.


In 2014, the percentage of adults age 25 and older who had not completed high school was 13 percent, lower than the 15 percent of adults who had not completed high school in 2009. Conversely, the percentage of adults age 25 and older who had completed a bachelor's or higher degree was 30 percent in 2014, higher than the 28 percent of adults who had completed a bachelor's or higher degree in 2009.


Figure 25.2. Percentage distribution of educational attainment of adults age 25 and older, by race/ethnicity: 2014

Figure 25.2. Percentage distribution of educational attainment of adults age 25 and older, by race/ethnicity: 2014


1 Total includes other racial/ethnic groups not separately shown as well as respondents who wrote in some other race that was not included as an option on the questionnaire and therefore could not be placed into any of the other groups.
NOTE: High school completers include diploma recipients and those completing high school through alternative credentials, such as a GED. Race categories exclude persons of Hispanic ethnicity. Detail may not sum to totals due to rounding.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Commerce, Census Bureau, American Community Survey, 2014. See Digest of Education Statistics 2015, table 104.40.


In 2014, the percentage of adults age 25 and older who had not completed high school was higher for Hispanic adults (35 percent) than for adults in any other racial/ethnic group (ranging from a high of 18 percent to a low of 8 percent). Specifically, 18 percent of American Indian/Alaska Native adults, 15 percent of Black adults, 14 percent of Asian adults, 12 percent of Pacific Islander adults, 10 percent of adults of Two or more races, and 8 percent of White adults had not completed high school. Most of the differences between these racial/ethnic groups were statistically significant; the exception was the difference between Asian adults and Pacific Islander adults.

The percentage of adults age 25 and older who had earned at least a bachelor's degree in 2014 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 and Hispanic adults had earned at least a bachelor's degree. Most of the differences between these racial/ethnic groups were statistically significant; the exceptions were the differences between American Indian/Alaska Native adults and both Pacific Islander and Hispanic adults and the difference between Pacific Islander adults and Hispanic adults.

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1 Kena, G., Hussar, W., McFarland, J., de Brey, C., Musu- Gillette, L., Wang, X., Zhang, J., Rathbun, A., Wilkinson- Flicker, S., Diliberti, M., Barmer, A., Bullock Mann, F., and Dunlop Velez, E. (2016). The Condition of Education 2016 (NCES 2016-144). U.S. Department of Education. Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved February 24, 2017, from https://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2016144.