The Large Racial Gap in Educational Attainment Rates, Particularly for Men

Revised data from the U.S. Census Bureau for 2021 shows large racial gaps in educational attainment. In 2021, 28.7 percent of African Americans over the age of 25 had obtained at least a bachelor’s degree. For Whites, the figure was 41.9 percent.

Some 10.9 percent of Black adults held a graduate or professional degree compared to 15.9 percent of Whites.

On the other extreme, nearly one in 10 African American adults had not graduated from high school. Only 4.9 percent of White adults did not have a high school diploma.

When we break the figures down by gender, we see a major advantage for Black women. In 2021, 30.8 percent of Black women had obtained at least a bachelor’s degree and 12.7 percent had earned an advanced degree. For African American men, 24.9 percent had a least a bachelor’s degree and 8.8 percent had an advanced degree. White men were nearly twice as likely as Black men to hold an advanced degree.

Black women had just a slight advantage over Black men in high school completion rates.


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