The Racial Gap in Educational Attainment in the United States

The U.S. Census Bureau recently released new data on the educational attainment of the nation’s population.

In 2021, there were 59,964,000 non-Hispanic White Americans over the age of 25 in the United States who had earned at least a bachelor’s degree. They made up 41.7 percent of the total adult population of non-Hispanic Whites in the United States.

There were 7,921,000 African Americans over the age of 25 in the United States who had earned at least a bachelor’s degree. They made up 28.1 percent of the total adult population of African Americans in the United States. These numbers have grown steadily in recent years.

If we break the data down by gender, we find that 24.9 percent of African American men and 30.8 percent of African American women over the age of 25 had obtained at least a bachelor’s degree.

Some 1,591,000 Black women had earned a master’s degree but no higher degree. In 2021 there were 841,000 Black men who had earned a master’s degree but no higher degree.

Black women now hold a lead over Black men in professional fields such as law, medicine, dentistry, etc. In 2021, there were 125,000 Black men who had earned a professional degree compared to 139,000 Black women.

In 2021, there were 151,000 Black men who held doctoral degrees compared to 221,000 Black women.

Comments (8)

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  1. David B says:

    Will someone tell me why it is that black women still earn less than black men on average, despite having earned more college degrees.

    • HBCU Watch says:

      It’s called living in so-called White male dominant patriarchy society.

    • G says:

      Having a degree doesn’t necessarily correlate to higher earnings. You can be a social worker or a teacher with a degree. Noble work, but it doesn’t necessarily translate in to higher incomes. You have to ask yourself, what professions are women choosing to pursue. The truth is, by and large men do jobs that pay more overall. These include blue collar positions. Men dominate most high paying industries, because men decide to take on these jobs. These are jobs that men choose to pursue at an 80%-99% rate in comparison to women. To name a few…pilot, engineer, coal miner, electrician, plumber, truck driver, doctor, mechanic, account, and business owner. Women tend to dominate industries like nursing, teaching, childcare, flight attendant, human resources, and,executive assistant. Granted in certain white collar rolls were women are paid less for the same job as proven by statistics, but it isn’t the primarily explanation for why men earn more than women.

    • James Miller. says:

      It’s because black females(females in general) tend to get degrees that are worthless or pay next to nothing. Black females typically get degrees in psychology, sociology, education, general business, and every “Humanities” major you can think of. Black males (males in general) tend to get degrees in that have value. Also, degree attainment doesnt have much of any correlation with earnings.

  2. Henry Bryant says:

    You should be consistent in your analytics. Regarding bachelor’s degrees, you should breakdown, the total of 7,921,00 between black males ‘and females so your percentage totals 100%. Your 24.9% Black males and 30.8% Black female does not equal 100%. Your analytics regarding masters, professional fields and doctoral are consistent. Great information and keep up the great work!

  3. Marissa Thompson says:

    And 25% of black male college graduates are married to nonBlack women. Once upon a time higher education among black men meant higher marriage rates among black people, but a disproportionate rate of today’s middle and upper income black men don’t appear to be vested in black families.

    • James Miller says:

      Your comment is irrelevant to this post, I dont understand how it was allowed to be posted. Furthermore, you didnt give a source to where you saw this “25%” number.

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