Bachelor's Degree Recipients Continue to Outearn Others, U.S. Census Reports

April 27, 2009

Washington — Workers with bachelor’s degrees earned an average of $26,000 more per year than those with only high-school diplomas, according to a new report on education trends released today by the U.S. Census Bureau.

The annual report, “Educational Attainment in the United States: 2008,” is based on data drawn from the bureau’s Annual Social and Economic Supplement, a survey conducted from February to April at 100,000 addresses across the country.

According to the 2008 data, of those 25 and older, 29.4 million women and 28.4 million men had bachelor’s degrees. While more women than men had high-school diplomas or associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees, more men held professional or doctoral degrees.

The data also show that of adults 25 and older, 29 percent held bachelor’s degrees, and 87 percent had completed high school.

Among other things, the report also found that:

Workers with only high-school diplomas earned an average of $31,286 in 2007; those with bachelor’s degrees earned an average of $57,181.

53 percent of Asians in the United States had bachelor’s degrees. For non-Hispanic whites, that figure was 33 percent; for blacks; 20 percent; for Hispanics, 13 percent.

Among those ages 25 to 29, 88 percent had completed high school, and 31 percent had completed college. Among those 75 and over, 73 percent had completed high school, and 17 percent had completed college.

—David Shieh