57+ Education Attainment Statistics For 2024 (Data & Facts)

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Education attainment statistics provide a wide picture of the level of education achieved by individuals within a given population. 

They also provide insights into differences in educational attainment based on factors such as gender, age, race, and socioeconomic status. 

Understanding education attainment statistics is crucial in addressing the various challenges facing education systems worldwide, Ensuring that all individuals have access to high-quality education. 

In this article, we will explore education attainment statistics in more detail, including their significance and sources.

So let’s get into it quickly.

Education Attainment Statistics: General Statistics

This introduction provides a brief overview of education attainment statistics, highlighting key insights and trends in educational achievements.

Education Attainment Statistics  - Overview
  1. Educational Attainment in the United States among 25 to 29-year-old individuals has increased by 80% since the year 2000.
  2. Among the overall population, 94% of 25-29-year-old individuals have a high school diploma.
  3. According to the research, since the year 2000, the number of individuals aged 25 and at the highest degree has doubled to 21 million. 
  4. Since 2000, doctoral degree holders have risen to 4.5 million.
  5. In 2018, women were more tend to have a bachelor’s degree than men.
  6. As per the data from the Census Bureau, the number of Americans who have advanced degrees like master’s or doctoral is 13%.
  7. In 2016, Census Bureau stated that education attainment is highly correlated with median incomes.
  8. Individuals with a high school diploma had an average income of $36,700 in 2016.
  9. Moreover, those without high school diplomas had an average salary of $27,800.
  10. The income of individuals with a bachelor’s or advanced degree had an average income of around $67,310 and $95,220, respectively. 

Education Attainment Statistics: By Degree

  1. According to the data from 2020, around 37.9% of the US population aged 25 and above had graduated from college or another higher institution.

High School Diploma Statistics:

  1. As per the research from educationdata.org, in 2019, among the total high school graduates, the male-to-female ratio was 1:1.
  2. More than 86% of the 18 to 24-year-old women and 83% of the 18 to 24-year-old men have a high school diploma.
  3. Among the population who had a high school diploma of age 25 or more, half of the population worked in the civilian job force.
  4. 4% of them were unemployed, 42% of them were not employed in the civilian labor force, and 55% were employed as civilians.
  5. According to the data from 2019, around half of the US population with high school attainment were married.
  6. The research stated that among this population, 54% were married, 5% were divorced or separated, 22% had never married, and 9% were widowed.

Associate’s Degree

  1. Of those who had an associate’s degree, 56% of them were women, and 44% of them were men.
  2. Of the 18-24-year-olds with an associate degree, 6% were male.
  3. Among associate degree holders aged 18 to 24 years, 7% were female.
  4. According to the data from Educational 2000, White students are likelier to earn an associate’s degree than their Latino/Hispanic population.
  5. White students with associate degrees had a retention rate of 70% higher than black students. 
  6. Associate degree holders had an unemployment rate of 2%.
  7. The most employing industries for associate degrees are education and health, wholesale retail and trade, and professional and business services.
  8. According to the study research from education data, among the total population of associate degree holders, 60% were married, 19% had never married, 15% were divorced or separated, and 6% were widowed.

Bachelor’s Degree

  1. It is seen that the gender gap in bachelor’s degrees has doubled, i.e., increased from 7% to 17%. Among these, 56% were women, and 44% were men.
  2.  For Bachelor’s degree holders aged between 18 to 24-year-olds, 10% of them are males, and 13% of them are female.
  3. As per the research from Census Bureau, the White population between 25 to 29 years old was 55%.
  4. As per the data from the latest statistics, it is seen that among the bachelor’s degree holders, 2% were unemployed.

Master’s Degree

  1. Of the population who had a master’s degree or higher, 47% of them were men, and 53% of them were women.
  2. Of the Male population who had a Master’s degree and over 25 years were 57%.
  3. Of those over 25 years who held a professional or Doctoral or Professional degree, 33% were women in 2019.

Education Attainment Statistics: By State

  1. According to the World Population, Montana has the highest percentage of people aged 25 or older with a regular high school diploma or higher.
Education Attainment By State

Let’s have a look at the top 10 states with the highest percentage of people 25 or older with a high school diploma or higher.

(Source: worldpopulation.com)

StatePercentage Of High School Or HigherBachelor’s Or Higher
New Hampshire93.3%37.6%
North Dakota93.1%30.7%

Similarly, below are the states with the lowest percentage of people 25 or older with a high school diploma or higher. 

(Source: worldpopulation.com)

StatePercentage Of High School Or HigherBachelor’s Or Higher
New Mexico86.5%28.1%
New York87.2%37.5%

Education Attainment Statistics: Demographics

It is seen that Educational attainment in the US differs by location, gender,  race, and age. 

  1. According to the education data, the highest level of education is seen in Pacific Islanders and Asian-American.
  2. The highest rates of residents with bachelor’s or higher degrees are Massachusetts and the District of Columbia in 2020. 
  3. Data states that the professional degree holders who earned the most on average were White Americans as compared to the other races and educational levels. 
  4. As compared to the females, it is seen that males usually earned more regardless of educational attainment. 

Let’s have a look at some of the recent statistics on demographics.

Education Attainment Statistics: By Gender

  1. Men aged 25 and over who completed a high school diploma as their highest degree were 29.4% in 2021.
  2. Similarly, women aged 25 and or who completed a high school diploma as their highest degree were 26.5% in 2021.
  3. Those who completed their bachelor’s degree as their highest degree and aged 25 or more had 53.1% women and 46.9% men.

Here is an insight into the distribution of educational attainment as per gender.

GenderNo DiplomaHigh School Diploma Bachelor’s Degree
Men (25 or older)17%29.4%46.9%
Women (25 or older)14%26.5%53.1%

Education Attainment Statistics: By Race

  1. According to the data from 2011 to 2021, the overall percentage of adults aged 25 or more who completed high school has increased for all the race and Hispanic origin groups.
  2. Similarly, for bachelor’s degrees, the percentage of bachelor’s degree holders who were 25 or older has increased from 34.0% to 41.9% for the race non-Hispanic white people.
  3. Similarly, the black population has increased from 84.5% to 90.3% of people who completed high school.
Education Attainment By Race

Below I have mentioned some of the attainment statistics among various races for 2020.

RaceAverage AttainmentHigh School Completion Associate DegreeBachelor’s DegreeMaster’s Degree Or Higher
American Indian/ Alaska Native25.4%79%23%16%
Pacific Islander65.8%82%62%22%
Two or More Races82%67%

Education Attainment Statistics: By Age

The highest level of education of the population aged 25 and older in the US in 2021 is distributed as follows:

  1. The research states that, among the overall population, 8.9% of the individuals had less than a high school diploma or equivalent.
  2. 29.9% of them had high school graduates as their highest level of school completed.
  3. Those who had completed some college but not a degree were 14.9%.
  4. More than 10.5% of them had an associate degree as the highest level degree.
  5.  23.5% of them had a bachelor’s degree at their highest school level completed.

Below is a detailed overview of the distribution of the highest level of education in the US.

(Source: Census gov

Level Of Education% Of The Population Aged 25 And Above
High School Diploma 8.9%
School Graduate27.9%
College but not a Degree14.9%
Associate Degree10.5%
Bachelor’s Degree23.5%
Advanced Degree14.4%
  1. As per the data from the census., the high school completion rate for people aged 25 or more has risen from 87.6% to 91.1% from 2011 to 2021.
  2. Those with an associate degree and aged 25 or more rose from 9.5% in 2011 to 10.5% in 2021.
  3. The proportion of adults 25 and older who had earned a bachelor’s degree or above climbed by 7.5 percentage points between 2011 and 2021, going from 30.4% to 37.9%.
  4.  The number of people aged 25 and older whose highest degree was a master’s degree increased to 24.1 million from 2011 to 2021, and the number of people with doctoral degrees increased to 4.7 million, representing increases of 50.2% and 54.5%, respectively.
  5. In 2021, roughly 14.3% of adults had a graduate degree, up from 10.9% in 2011.

Education Attainment Statistics: Nativity

  1. The foreign-born population who have recently come to the United States is more likely to have a college education than the native-born population.
  2. According to the 2021 data, the total population of foreign-born people who arrived in 2021 had 46.4% bachelor or higher degree holders as compared to native-born, with 38.2%.
  3. High levels of education were attained by naturalised citizens and offspring of foreign-born parents in 2021; 42.2% of naturalised citizens and 43.0% of children of foreign-born parents held a bachelor’s degree or above.
  4. In 2021, more people who were born outside of the country (15.4%) than those who were (14.1%) held advanced degrees such as master’s, professional, or doctoral degrees.  

Education Attainment Statistics: Education Pay

According to the Bureau of Labour Statistics, the population with Doctoral degrees has the highest earning level and lowest unemployment rates as compared to other educational levels.

Education Attainment Educational Pay

Similarly, the population with less than a high school diploma has the lowest earning level and highest unemployment rate.

Here is complete data on the unemployment rate and average weekly earnings by degree level in 2021.

(Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics)

DegreeMedian Earnings Weekly ($)Unemployment Rate (%)
Doctoral Degree $1,9091.5%
Professional Degree$1,9241.8%
Master’s Degree$1,5742.6%
Bachelor’s Degree$1,3343.5%
Associate Degree$9634.6%
Some College or No Degree$8995.5%
High School Diploma$8096.2%
Less than a high school diploma$6268.3%

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Conclusion: Education Attainment Statistics (2024)

Education attainment statistics are essential for understanding the educational landscape of a given population. 

But it is important to recognize the limitations of education attainment statistics, such as their inability to capture the quality of education or the reasons why individuals may not have completed their education. 

By using education attainment statistics in conjunction with other data sources and approaches, you can gain a more comprehensive understanding of education systems and work towards improving access to high-quality education for all individuals. 

So what are your thoughts on this? Let us know in the comment section below.

Alvin Parker

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