Educational attainment and unemployment among Asians in the United States
December 14, 2011
A notable characteristic of the Nation's Asians is their high rate of educational attainment. Fifty-two percent of those ages 25 and older had a bachelor's degree or higher in the 2008–2010 period, considerably more than the average of 29 percent for non-Asians.
In the 2008–2010 period, Asian Indians had the highest levels of educational attainment: 35 percent had a bachelor's degree, 30 percent had a master's degree, and 11 percent had a professional or doctoral degree.
While no other Asian group had such a high level of educational attainment, all except Vietnamese were more likely to be college graduates than were non-Asians. Vietnamese were about as likely as were non-Asians to have a bachelor's degree or higher.
Unemployment rates for non-Asians varied substantially by educational attainment. Non-Asians ages 25 and older with less than a high school diploma had a rate of 13.0 percent, 9.1 percentage points higher than the 3.9 percent rate for non-Asians with a bachelor's degree or higher. The gap for Asian groups was less pronounced. The jobless rate for Chinese ages 25 and older with less than a high school diploma was 5.5 percent, 1.3 percentage points higher than the rate for their counterparts with at least a bachelor's degree (4.2 percent). For most of the Asian groups, the rates for those with less than a high school diploma were lower than for non-Asians, and the rates for those with at least a bachelor's degree tended to be slightly higher.
Data for this article are from the Current Population Survey program. To learn more, see "Asians in the U.S. labor force: profile of a diverse population," by Mary Dorinda Allard, in the November 2011 issue of the Monthly Labor Review. The Other Asians group includes individuals who were of an Asian group not listed as well as those who were of two or more Asian groups.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Educational attainment and unemployment among Asians in the United States on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2011/ted_20111214.htm (visited November 28, 2015).
Recent editions of Spotlight on Statistics
Fifty years of looking at changes in peoples lives
Longitudinal surveys help us understand long-term changes, such as how events that happened when a person was in high school affect labor market success as an adult.
- A look at pay at the top, the bottom, and in between
The Spotlight examines how earnings and wages have changed over time and how they differ within a geographic area, industry, or occupation.