Today, the U.S. Census Bureau released findings from the Educational Attainment in the United States: 2021 table package that use statistics from the Current Population Survey’s Annual Social and Economic Supplement to examine the educational attainment of adults age 25 and older by demographic and social characteristics, such as age, sex, race and nativity.
- In 2021, the highest level of education of the population age 25 and older in the United States was distributed as follows:
- 8.9% had less than a high school diploma or equivalent.
- 27.9% had high school graduate as their highest level of school completed.
- 14.9% had completed some college but not a degree.
- 10.5% had an associate degree as their highest level of school completed.
- 23.5% had a bachelor’s degree as their highest degree.
- 14.4% had completed an advanced degree such as a master’s degree, professional degree or doctoral degree.
- The high school completion rate in the United States for people age 25 and older increased from 87.6% in 2011 to 91.1% in 2021.
- The percentage of the population age 25 and older with associate degrees rose from 9.5% to 10.5% between 2011 and 2021.
- Between 2011 and 2021, the percentage of people age 25 and older who had completed a bachelor’s degree or higher increased by 7.5 percentage points from 30.4% to 37.9%.
- From 2011 to 2021, the number of people age 25 and over whose highest degree was a master’s degree rose to 24.1 million, and the number of doctoral degree holders rose to 4.7 million, a 50.2% and 54.5% increase, respectively.
- About 14.3% of adults had an advanced degree in 2021, up from 10.9% in 2011.
- In 2021, 29.4% of men age 25 and older had completed a high school diploma or GED as their highest level of educational attainment, compared with 26.5% of women age 25 and older.
- In 2021, of adults age 25 and older who had completed a bachelor’s degree or more, 53.1% were women and 46.9% were men.
- From 2011 to 2021, the percentage of adults age 25 and older who had completed high school increased for all race and Hispanic origin groups. During this period, high school completion increased from 92.4% to 95.1% for the non-Hispanic White population; from 84.5% to 90.3% for the Black population; from 88.6% to 92.9% for the Asian population; and from 64.3% to 74.2% for the Hispanic population.
- From 2011 to 2021, the percentage of adults age 25 and older with a bachelor’s degree or higher increased from 34.0% to 41.9% for the non-Hispanic White population; from 19.9% to 28.1% for the Black population; from 50.3% to 61.0% for the Asian population; and from 14.1% to 20.6% for the Hispanic population.
- Foreign-born people who recently came to the United States were more likely to have a college education than foreign-born people who arrived earlier or the native-born population. In 2021, among the foreign-born who arrived since 2010, 46.4% had a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared with 38.2% of the native-born, and 32.9% of the foreign-born who arrived in the 1990s.
- Naturalized citizens and the children of foreign-born parents both had high levels of educational attainment in 2021; 42.2% of naturalized citizens and 43.0% of children of foreign-born parents had a bachelor’s degree or higher.
- In 2021, a greater share of the foreign-born (15.4%) than native-born population (14.1%) held advanced degrees, such as master’s degrees, professional degrees or doctoral degrees.
The Current Population Survey, sponsored jointly by the Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, is the primary source of labor force statistics for the population of the United States.