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Census: More working women than men have college degrees

By Steve Fidel  |  Posted Apr 26th, 2011 @ 9:03pm



SALT LAKE CITY — Working women are now more likely than men to have attained a bachelor's degree, according to data from the Census Bureau released on Tuesday.

Among the employed population 25 and older, 37 percent of women had attained a bachelor's degree as of 2010, compared with 35 percent of men. Among all adults 25 and older, 29.6 percent of women and 30.3 percent of men had at least a bachelor's degree.

2010 Census shows...
  • Employed population 25 and older with bachelor's degree
    Women 37%
    Men 35%
  • All adults 25 and older with bachelor's degree
    Women 29.6%
    Men 30.3 %

The Census Bureau did not offer a state-level analysis, but the national figures are in sync with Utahns pursuing higher degrees, where both enrollment and graduation figures for the same period are evenly split between men and women.

However, a recent study by researchers at Utah Valley University found that Utah lags behind all other states in attainment of college degrees by women. The percentage attending college started to decrease in the early 1990s and dipped below the national average about 10 years ago.

According to the study, many Mormon girls are encouraged to go to college but not necessarily to finish. Some survey participants said they saw no urgency to graduate, believing they would finish "someday," while others said that starting a family trumped college, and getting married ended their education.

The census data also reconfirms that unemployment rates go down as education levels go up, though the percentages do not always favor one gender. Nationally, the unemployment rate in civilian occupations for men and women with a high school degree is 15.7 percent and 10.7 percent respectively; and .07 percent and 2.7 percent respectively for men and women with doctorate degrees.

The data come from tabulations on "Education Attainment in the United States: 2010."

In 2010, 36 percent of the nation's population 25 and older had discontinued their education before obtaining a degree. An even greater share of the 25-and-older population — 17 percent — attended some college but left before receiving a degree. At the graduate school level, 4 percent of the population left before obtaining an advanced degree.

Other findings released on Tuesday:

  • In 2010, 87 percent of adults 25 and older had at least a high school
 diploma or equivalent, up from 84 percent in 2000.

  • Of the 200 million people 25 and older in 2010, 26 million had not
 completed high school, while 174 million had attained at least a high
 school education.

  • In 2010, 30 percent of adults 25 and older, or 60 million people, had
 at least a bachelor’s degree, compared with 26 percent in 2000.

  • More than half (52 percent) of Asians 25 and older had a bachelor's
 degree or more, higher than the level for non-Hispanic whites (33
 percent), blacks (20 percent) and Hispanics (14 percent).

  • Women 25 and older were more likely than men 25 and older to have
 completed at least high school, at 87.6 percent versus 86.6 percent.

  • Among the population 25 to 29, 36 percent of women had a bachelor's
 degree or more, compared with 28 percent of men.

These data come from the Current Population Survey’s Annual Social and
 Economic Supplement, which is conducted in February, March and April at
 about 100,000 addresses nationwide.

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