Women more likely than men to have earned a bachelor's degree by age 31

December 06, 2018

Nearly 36 percent of women born in the years 1980–84 had earned a bachelor's degree by age 31, compared with 28 percent of men. Among both women and men, 38 percent had attended some college or earned an associate degree by age 31. Twenty-four percent had earned a high school diploma or General Educational Development (GED) credential.

Percent of people born in 1980–84 by their educational attainment at age 31
Characteristic Total High school
dropout
High school diploma,
no college
General Educational
Development (GED)
recipient, no college
Some college or
associate degree
Bachelor's degree
or higher

Total

100% 7.1% 16.1% 7.4% 37.7% 31.6%

Total men

100 7.7 18.4 9.1 36.7 27.9

White non-Hispanic men

100 6.5 19.0 7.2 35.2 32.0

Black non-Hispanic men

100 11.2 18.3 16.7 39.0 14.2

Hispanic or Latino men

100 11.9 20.3 10.6 40.0 16.7

Total women

100 6.4 13.7 5.6 38.7 35.5

White non-Hispanic women

100 5.5 13.4 5.1 35.7 40.2

Black non-Hispanic women

100 8.0 13.4 6.6 48.3 23.0

Hispanic or Latino women

100 9.9 18.6 7.3 42.7 21.1

Within each racial and ethnic group examined, women were more likely than men to have earned a bachelor's degree. Forty percent of White non-Hispanic women had earned a bachelor’s degree by age 31, compared with 32 percent of White non-Hispanic men. Twenty-three percent of Black non-Hispanic women had earned a bachelor’s degree, compared with 14 percent of Black non-Hispanic men. Among Hispanics or Latinos, women also were also more likely than men to have earned a bachelor’s degree (21 percent versus 17 percent).

Among men at age 31, Hispanics and Black non-Hispanics were nearly twice as likely as White non-Hispanic to have dropped out of high school. Women in each of the racial and ethnic groups were less likely than men to have dropped out of high school.

About 35 percent of Black non-Hispanic men at age 31 were high school graduates or GED recipients who had not attended college. That compares with 31 percent of Hispanic or Latino men and 26 percent of White non-Hispanic men. About one in five Black, Hispanic, and White men had earned a regular high school diploma; Black men were more likely than Hispanic or White men to have earned a GED.

Among 31-year-old women, 26 percent of Hispanics or Latinos were high school graduates or GED recipients who had not attended college. That compares with 20 percent of non-Hispanic Black women and 19 percent of non-Hispanic White women. Women in all three groups were about equally likely to have earned a GED.

These data are from the National Longitudinal Surveys program. For more information, see "Labor Market Activity, Education, and Partner Status among Americans at Age 31: Results from a Longitudinal Survey."

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Women more likely than men to have earned a bachelor's degree by age 31 on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2018/women-more-likely-than-men-to-have-earned-a-bachelors-degree-by-age-31.htm (visited December 16, 2018).

OF INTEREST
spotlight

Recent editions of Spotlight on Statistics