Dateline: July 5, 2004
An all-time high 85 percent of U.S. adults age 25 and over had completed at least high school in 2003, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Also in 2003, 27 percent of adults age 25 and over had a college degree, another record.
The percentage of non-Hispanic whites (89 percent) and blacks (80 percent) who had a high school diploma or higher marked new highs. The proportion of blacks rose by 10 percentage points from 1993 to 2003, while non-Hispanic whites saw an increase of 5 percentage points in this category.
Women Shine as Scholars
The census report, Educational Attainment in the United States: 2003, [PDF] said women made large gains in earning college degrees. Over the past decade, women with a bachelors degree or higher jumped nearly 7 percentage points, from 19 percent to 26 percent. During the same time, men had a 4-percentage-point increase going from 25 percent to 29 percent.
For the second year in a row, women had a slightly higher proportion of high school graduates (85 percent) than men (84 percent).
Other education highlights for 2003 included:
The states with the highest high school graduation rates were New Hampshire, Minnesota and Wyoming, all around 92 percent.
In Washington, D.C., about 46 percent of people 25 and over had at least a bachelors degree, higher than any state. Massachusetts, Maryland and Colorado led all states at about 38 percent.Among races, Asians had the highest proportion of college graduates at 50 percent. About 30 percent of non-Hispanic whites and 17 percent of blacks had a least a bachelors degree. In 1993, 24 percent of non-Hispanic whites and 12 percent of blacks were college graduates.Hispanics with high school diplomas rose from 53 percent in 1993 to 57 percent. About 11 percent had bachelors degrees, up from 9 percent.The proportion of foreign-born people with a high school diploma was 67 percent. For natives, it was 88 percent. However, the proportion with a bachelors degree was about 27 percent for the two groups.In 2002, average earnings by highest level of education were: for those with advanced degrees, $72,824; for bachelors degree-holders, $51,194; for high school graduates, $27,280; and for nongraduates, $18,826.
[Source: U.S. Census Bureau]