EPI's weekly illustration of education data trends — November 8, 2018

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Percentage of 18- to 24-year-olds in degree-granting postsecondary institutions, by Race/Ethnicity

(1980 to 2016)


According to data from the US Census Bureau, 41 percent of US 18- to 24-year-olds were enrolled in postsecondary education in 2016. This is the result of a steady increase since the mid-1970s from 27 percent. As the chart below indicates, large variations exist in participation rates by race/ethnic group. Asians have, by far, the highest participation in postsecondary education wtih 62 percent in 2016, followed by White (42 percent), Hispanic (37 percent), and Black youth (35 percent).

In 1980, the gap between White and Black youth was 11 percent and decreased to 7 percent in 2016. The greatest climb in participation was by Hispanic youth (21 percent), 11 percent for Black students, 8 percent for White students, and 5 percent for Asian students during the 26 years between 1980 and 2016.

SOURCE: U.S Department of Commerce, Census Bureau, Current Population Survey (CPS), October, 1970 through 2016.

NOTE: EPI used a three-year revolving average to smooth out swings in data that could be due to sampling errors.



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