Education

Explore the relationship between family structure, religious practice, and educational achievement and attainment levels.

Education Charts

 
  • Per-pupil expenditures Per-pupil education spending has steadily increased The amount spent per pupil on education in the United States has increased by over 30 percent since the mid-1990s. Today the U.S. spends approximately $10,000 annually per K-12 student.
  • Average public high school freshman graduation rate The average public high school graduation rate has remained relatively flat The average graduation rate of public high-school freshmen—an estimate of on-time graduating—decreased slightly in the 1970s and since that time has remained between 70 percent and 76 percent.
  • High school graduates among 17-year-olds Since 1970, the high school graduation rate for 17-year-olds has remained flat During the first half of the 20th century, the high-school graduation rate of 17-year-olds increased significantly. In the last 40 years, however, that rate has remained about the same. Today, just over three-quarters of 17-year-olds graduate from high school.
  • High school dropouts, by race and gender Among young adults, fewer than one in 10 is a high school dropout Since the early 1970s, the percentage of high school dropouts has declined by nearly 50 percent. The decline is the most dramatic among African Americans (over 60 percent) and among women (58 percent).
  • Percent of high-school graduates The majority of adults in the United States have high school degrees Nearly nine in 10 adults have a high school education, a significant increase of more than 75 percent since the mid-1960s, when nearly one in two adults was high school educated. The rise has been the most dramatic among African Americans.
  • Percent of high-school graduates, by gender and race For all races, the share of high school graduates is similar for men and women The share of African American men and women with at least a high school degree is smaller than that of white men and women. The share of Hispanic men and women with a high-school degree is smaller still.
  • Percent of female college students The majority of college students are women In 1920, women comprised nearly one-half of all college students. While that figure dropped in the ensuing decades, it rose again beginning in the late 1940s. Since 1979, female college students have outnumbered their male peers.
  • Percent of college graduates, by race and gender For all races, women and men are equally likely to be college graduates Among whites, the gender gap for college graduates widened in the early 1980s and has since narrowed. Among African Americans and Hispanics, men and women tracked closely. Minority women have recently become more likely to have a college education than minority men.
  • Percent of degrees conferred to women The majority of degrees are conferred to women In the past 30 years, more associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees have been granted to women than to men. By the mid-1980s, more than one-half of master’s conferred were to women. In 2006, women surpassed men as recipients of doctor’s and comparable degrees.
  • College graduation rates, by gender and race Fewer than six out of 10 college freshmen graduate within six years Women are more likely than men to graduate within six years. The gender gap is more pronounced among minorities.
  • Earnings by educational attainment College graduates earn nearly twice as much as high school graduates Those with a bachelor’s degree earn nearly twice as much as those with only a high school diploma. That gap has increased over the past 35 years. In 1975, a college graduate earned about one-and-a-half times as much as a high school graduate.
  • Percent of college graduates, by race The percentage of college graduates has soared since 1965 Since the mid-1970s, the percent of college graduates has doubled among whites and Hispanics and more than tripled among African Americans.
  • NAEP reading and math achievement scores While reading achievement scores have remained flat, math scores rose slightly Since the 1970s, students' reading achievement scores have remained relatively flat, but math scores have risen modestly. While younger students have experienced some increases in test scores, older students' scores have generally stagnated.
  • NAEP reading and math achievement scores, by gender Boys tend to score higher in math while girls tend to score higher in reading Although there is a gender gap in both math and reading scores, the gap is smaller between genders in math scores than in reading scores.
  • NAEP reading and math achievement scores, by race Test scores reveal an achievement gap between whites and minorities There is significant disparity in test scores between whites and their black and Hispanic peers. Whites perform better on NAEP tests regardless of student age, and the gaps don't necessarily narrow as students get older.
  • Median years of completed schooling Overall educational attainment has slowed in recent decades Between 1940 and 1970, the median years of schooling completed increased by three-and-a-half years. Since then, the gains have been relatively modest.
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