The Persistent Racial Gap in Educational Attainment in the United States

New data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows large racial gaps in educational attainment in 2022. That year, 27.6 percent of African Americans over the age of 25 had obtained at least a bachelor’s degree. For non-Hispanic Whites, the figure was 48.2 percent.

Some 10.1 percent of Black adults held a graduate or professional degree compared to 15.7 percent of non-Hispanic Whites.

On the other extreme, nearly one in 10 African American adults had not graduated from high school. Only 4.8 percent of non-Hispanic 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 2022, 30.1 percent of Black women had obtained at least a bachelor’s degree and 12.3 percent had earned an advanced degree. For African American men, 24.6 percent had a least a bachelor’s degree and 8.3 percent had an advanced degree.


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