Report Shows More Americans with High School, College Diplomas
American adults are better educated, according to new Census Bureau estimates.
Of Americans age 25 and older this year, a record-high 84.1 percent had at least a high school degree, up from 83.4 percent in 1999 and 24.5 percent in 1940, the earliest records available, according to the Census report released recently.
In addition, 25.6 percent of those age 25 and older have graduated from college, also a new high. It was up slightly from 25.2 percent last year. The percentage was 4.6 in 1940.
New Mexico remained below average in both categories, with 82.2 percent receiving high school diplomas and 23.6 percent receiving college degrees. Eighteen states had lower high-school graduation percentages and just 11 had lower college graduation rates.
The report is in line with other studies on Americans’ educational attainment, advocates say. It typically shows about a 1 percentage point increase in degree holders each year, according to Census analysts.
The statistics were collected as part of a Census Bureau survey last March, but are not results from Census 2000.
U.S. Department of Education Secretary Richard Riley has said that his department has worked with local schools and community organizations to help make college more affordable as more students recognize the importance of continuing their education beyond high school.
Aides to President-elect Bush say the incoming administration can do more. Bush has promised education reform will be the subject of one of the first bills he sends to Congress.
The Census report showed that 79.2 percent of people age 25 and older in Bush’s home state of Texas graduated from high school this year, nearly 5 percentage points below the national average. The percentage of Texans age 25 and older with a college degree was 23.9 percent, down 1.7 percentage points from the national average.
Nationally, the report showed that education levels increased among Whites, Blacks and Hispanics, but a wide disparity still existed among the three racial and ethnic groups. This year, 88.4 percent of non-Hispanic Whites graduated from high school, compared with 78.9 percent of non-Hispanic Blacks and 57 percent of Hispanics, who can be of any race.
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