Racial Differences in How Recent College Graduates Fared During the Pandemic

A new report from the U.S. Department of Education examines the experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic of students who graduated from college in the 2015-16 academic year. Some of the data is broken down by racial and ethnic group.

More than a quarter of African Americans who graduated from college in the 2015-16 academic year reported that they had to work more than they desired in 2020 due to the pandemic. And more than 30 percent worked less than they would have desired. Some 14 percent of these African American college graduates said they had to take a less desirable job, compared to 6.9 percent of Whites who graduated from college in the same year.  Some 21 percent of African American college graduates said they delayed additional educational training due to the pandemic. This was more than double the rate for Whites who had graduated from college in the 2015-16 academic year.

For 2015-16 college graduates, 22.5 percent of African Americans reported that they had difficulty meeting essential expenses during the pandemic, compared to only 8.4 percent of Whites who graduated from college that year. More than 19 percent of African American college graduates took on additional child or family care responsibilities compared to 11.2 percent of White college graduates. In addition, African American college graduates were more likely than their White peers to delay getting married or have children.

During the pandemic, 76 percent of Whites who graduated from college in the 2015-16 academic year reported that they were employed full-time, compared to 68 percent of Blacks. For college-educated Whites, the average annual pay during the pandemic was $60,600. For college-education Blacks, the average pay was $54,500.

 


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