African Americans in the Western States Are More Likely to Be College Educated Than Other Black Americans

Nationwide, slightly more than 18 percent of all adult blacks over the age of 25 hold a four-year college degree. For whites, the figure is 31 percent, significantly higher than the rate for blacks.

But there are vast differences in the educational attainment of blacks and whites depending on the region of the country in which they live. It is in the western states where blacks have made the most progress. In the West, 24.8 percent of all black adults over the age of 25 hold a college degree. This is about 34 percent higher than the national average for blacks and 52 percent higher than the rate for blacks in the Midwest.

Furthermore, the gap between the races is much lower in the West than in other regions of the nation. In the West there is a gap of 9.7 percentage points between the college completion rate for whites and the college completion rate for blacks. Nationally the difference is 12.5 percentage points. In the Northeast, the gap is the largest. In that region there is a 16.3 percentage point gap in college completion rates between whites and blacks.