Skip Navigation
Click to open navigation

Indicator 28: Employment and Earnings
(Last Updated: July 2017)

In 2014, 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 the median annual earnings of their White ($52,800), Black ($46,800), and Hispanic peers ($47,400).

Economic outcomes can vary based on factors such as educational attainment and race/ethnicity. This indicator discusses the median annual earnings of full-time year-round1 25- to 34-year-old workers and the percentage of the 25- to 34-year-old labor force2 that works full time, year round in terms of different racial/ethnic groupings and different levels of educational attainment.


Figure 28.1. Median annual earnings of full-time year-round workers 25 to 34 years old, by race/ethnicity: 2014

Figure 28.1. Median annual earnings of full-time year-round workers 25 to 34 years old, by race/ethnicity: 2014


NOTE: Full-time year-round workers are those who worked 35 or more hours per week for 50 or more weeks per year. Race categories exclude persons of Hispanic ethnicity.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Commerce, Census Bureau, Current Population Survey (CPS), "Annual Social and Economic Supplement," 2015. See Digest of Education Statistics 2015, table 502.30.


In 2014, median annual earnings of full-time year-round workers ages 25–34 were $40,000; however, median annual earnings varied by racial/ethnic group. For example, the median annual earnings of Asian full-time year-round workers ages 25–34 ($49,500) were higher than the median annual earnings of workers who were White ($42,900), and the median annual earnings for both groups were higher than the earnings for their peers who were Black ($30,800), Hispanic ($30,000), Pacific Islander ($34,100), American Indian/Alaska Native ($29,800), and of Two or more races ($34,400).


Figure 28.2. Median annual earnings of full-time year-round workers 25 to 34 years old, by educational attainment and race/ethnicity: 2014

Figure 28.2. Median annual earnings of full-time year-round workers 25 to 34 years old, by educational attainment and race/ethnicity: 2014


‡ Reporting standards not met (too few cases for a reliable estimate).
1 Includes equivalency credentials, such as the General Educational Development (GED) credential.
NOTE: Full-time year-round workers are those who worked 35 or more hours per week for 50 or more weeks per year. Total includes other racial/ethnic groups not separately shown, including Pacific Islander, American Indian/Alaska Native, and Two or more races, 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. Race categories exclude persons of Hispanic ethnicity. Median annual earnings by educational attainment for Pacific Islander young adults, American Indian/Alaska Native young adults, and young adults of Two or more races are not available because these data did not meet reporting standards.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Commerce, Census Bureau, Current Population Survey (CPS), "Annual Social and Economic Supplement," 2015. See Digest of Education Statistics 2015, table 502.30.


In general, higher levels of educational attainment were associated with higher median annual earnings for 25- to 34-year-old full-time workers in each racial/ethnic group3 in 2014. While overall median annual earnings of full-time young adult workers were $40,000, they 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. This same pattern was evident for Hispanic young adults ages 25–34. The median annual earnings for Black full-time workers ages 25–34 with and without a high school credential were not measurably different; however, both were lower than for those with a bachelor's or higher degree ($46,800). This same pattern emerged for White full-time workers who completed high school.

In 2014, differences in median annual earnings were found between racial/ethnic groups at each level of educational attainment. The median annual earnings of White 25- to 34-year-olds working full time who did not complete high school ($28,500) were higher than the median annual earnings of their Black ($20,500) and Hispanic ($23,800) peers. Among those who completed high school, median annual earnings of White ($32,900), Hispanic ($30,000), and Asian ($29,800) 25- to 34-year-olds working full time were higher than the median annual earnings of their Black ($25,000) peers. In addition, the earnings of White full-time workers were higher than those of their Hispanic peers, and there was no measurable difference between the median annual earnings of White and Asian full-time workers who completed high school. Among those with a bachelor's or higher degree, the median annual income of full-time workers was higher for Asian workers ($61,200) than the median annual earnings of their White ($52,800) peers, and the median annual earnings for both groups were higher than those of their Black ($46,800) and Hispanic ($47,400) peers.


Figure 28.3. Full-time year-round workers as a percentage of the 25- to 34-year-old labor force, by educational attainment and race/ethnicity: 2014

Figure 28.3. Full-time year-round workers as a percentage of the 25- to 34-year-old labor force, by educational attainment and race/ethnicity: 2014


1 Includes equivalency credentials, such as the GED credential.
NOTE: Full-time year-round workers are those who worked 35 or more hours per week for 50 or more weeks per year. Total includes other racial/ethnic groups not separately shown, including Pacific Islander, American Indian/Alaska Native, and Two or more races, 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. Race categories exclude persons of Hispanic ethnicity. Full-time employment rates by educational attainment for Pacific Islander young adults, American Indian/Alaska Native young adults, and young adults of Two or more races are not available because these data did not meet reporting standards. Although rounded numbers are displayed, the figures are based on unrounded estimates.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Commerce, Census Bureau, Current Population Survey (CPS), "Annual Social and Economic Supplement," 2015. See Digest of Education Statistics 2015, table 502.30.


Sixty-seven percent of the 25- to 34-year-old labor force worked full time, year round in 2014, but the percentage varied by level of educational attainment. The percentage was higher for those with a bachelor's or higher degree than for those who only completed high school (73 vs. 65 percent), and both percentages were higher than the percentage for those who did not complete high school (55 percent). This same pattern emerged for White and Black young adults ages 25–34, but the associations between higher levels of educational attainment and higher full-time employment rates were not consistently observed among the other racial/ethnic groups. For Hispanic 25- to 34-year-olds in the labor force, the percentages working full time with a bachelor's or higher degree (71 percent) and those who had completed high school (68 percent) were not measurably different. However, both of these percentages were higher than for those without a high school credential (62 percent). The percentage of Asian 25- to 34-year-olds in the labor force was higher for those with a bachelor's or higher degree (71 percent) than for those without a high school credential (51 percent), but not measurably different than those who had completed high school.

Differences in the percentage of the 25- to 34-year-old labor force who worked full time were found between racial/ethnic groups at each level of educational attainment in 2014. Among those who did not complete high school, the percentage of the labor force who worked full time was higher for Hispanic 25- to 34-year-olds (62 percent) than for their White (47 percent) and Black (39 percent) counterparts. Among those who completed high school, the percentage of those who worked full time was higher for White and Hispanic 25- to 34-year-olds (67 and 68 percent, respectively) than their Black (59 percent) peers. Among those with a bachelor's or higher degree, the percentage of those 25- to 34-year-olds who worked full time was not measurably different for White, Black, and Hispanic individuals, but the percentage was higher for White 25- to 34-year-olds (74 percent) than their Asian peers (71 percent).

Top


1 "Full time, year round" is used interchangeably with the shortened form "full time."
2 The labor force consists of those who reported working or looking for work.
3 Median annual earnings and full-time employment rates by educational attainment for Pacific Islander young adults, American Indian/Alaska Native young adults, and young adults of Two or more races are not available because these data did not meet reporting standards.