US

Are Americans Better Educated Than Before?

There are many studies and statistics showing graduation rates among Americans when compared to other countries have fallen behind. Equally so, there are findings showing American students lagging in math and science. However, Pew Research back in January of this year, released findings that show increasingly more young adults are completing high school, going to college and finishing college. According to Pew, these across-the-board increases have occurred despite dramatic immigration-driven changes in the racial and ethnic composition of college-age young adults, a trend that had led some experts to expect a decline in educational attainment.

According to 2012 census data, 31% of all adults ages 25 and older have completed at least a Bachelor’s degree – up from 30% in 2011. In 1971 only 12% of adults ages 25 and older had completed at least a four-year college degree. For 2012, nearly six in ten (57%) adults ages 25 and older had finished at least some college education. This matched the level attained in 2011. In 1971 only 22% of adults had finished at least some college.

Furthermore, in 2012, for the first time ever, one-third of the nation’s 25- to 29-year-olds had completed at least a Bachelor’s degree. Also, a record share of the nation’s young adults ages 25 to 29 (90%) had finished at least a high school education. And another record share – 63% — had completed at least some college.

A high school education is becoming increasingly universal. In 2012, 88% of adults ages 25 and older had at least completed high school, matching the 2011 level and far surpassing the 57% of adults who had at least finished high school in 1971.