Nearly Four Million African Americans Now Hold a Four-Year College Degree

According to the census statistics, there are 2,806,000 blacks in this country who hold a bachelor’s degree only. And there are an additional 856,000 African Americans who have a four-year college degree plus also hold a master’s degree. An additional 138,000 blacks hold a professional degree in fields such as law, business, or medicine. Another 101,000 African Americans have obtained a doctorate. Overall, 3,901,000 African Americans possess a four-year college degree or higher.

In 2005, 17.6 percent of all African Americans over the age of 25 held a four-year college degree. This figure has increased significantly from 13.8 percent in 1996 and 11.3 percent in 1990.

Despite the good news, the figures still show that blacks continue to have a long way to go before they reach higher educational parity with white Americans. Overall, 30.6 percent of the white population over the age of 25 holds a four-year college degree compared to 17.6 percent of adult blacks.

It is also important to note that in the past few years the racial gap in degree attainments between whites and blacks has actually grown worse. In 2003, 27.6 percent of all adult whites held a four-year college degree. The latest data shows that 30.6 percent of all adult whites have obtained a bachelor’s degree, a three percentage point increase in just two years. During the same period, the percentage of adult whites with a four-year college degree increased only slightly from 17.3 percent to 17.6 percent. Thus, in two years the racial gap has grown from 10.3 percentage points to 13 percentage points.