Education Attainment Statistics

Report Highlights. Educational attainment among 25- to 29-year-olds in the United States has risen at every level since the year 2010.

  • From 2010 to 2022, high school graduation rate rose by 6%, associate’s and master’s degree graduates rose by 8%, and master’s degree graduates increased by 2%. 
  • Male and female educational attainment rates both increased between 2010 and 2022. 
  • There is a greater percentage of women who obtain each educational tier compared to men from high school to master’s degree. 
  • The likelihood an individual will be employed within the civilian workforce increases with educational attainment by 5%.
  • Roughly 20% of homeowners have a higher graduate or professional degree.

Related reports include College Graduation Statistics | College Dropout Rates | College Enrollment Statistics

Educational attainment statistics on Education Data Initiative

General Statistics 

For our purposes, educational attainment refers to the highest completed level of education. A high school graduate or equivalent (ex., GED) with college credits but no degree is counted among high school graduates in the data below. Official sources report data divided into two sex-based categories: male and female. Additional categorical data is unavailable, and the terms “sex” and “gender” are used interchangeably.

  • Americans who earn a master’s degree or higher increase their employability by about 2%.
  • Educational success directly correlates with homeownership.
  • Gender gaps continue to widen in unexpected ways while racial disparities slowly shrink.

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High School Diploma Statistics 

The gender gap among high school graduates has stagnated in recent years. In 2019, among high school graduates, the male-to-female ratio was almost 1-to-1. Some racial gaps among high school graduates decreased from 2000-2022. Attainment has improved across the board though disparities remain.

  • 95% of 25- to 29-year-old women and 94% of 25- to 29-year-old men have a high school diploma or equivalent.
  • Among Hispanic students, there are 4% more males than females who obtain a high school diploma. 
  • 1.9% more African-American females vs. males obtain a high school diploma.
  • 40.5% of high school diploma recipients own a home, the lowest percentage of homeownership out of any degree.
  • While Latino/Hispanic retention increased by 18.6%, this demographic has yet to attain a graduation rate in the 90th percentile.
  • There were also significant increases in high school diploma attainment among American Indian/Alaska Native and Pacific Islander demographics, which improved by 2.5% and 0.7%, respectively, from 2010 to 2022.

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Occupations for High School Diplomas 

About half of high school-level graduates over the age of 25 work in the civilian workforce. Their top occupations are service, office and administrative, and transportation and logistics positions. Wholesale retail and trade, education and health, and manufacturing are the industries that employ the largest percentage of this demographic.

  • 4% were unemployed.
  • High school degree holders can earn roughly $48,017 per year.
  • High school degree holders make up the largest portion of those working as conveyor operators, and other manual labor industrial jobs.

Associate’s Degree

The gender gap among those with associate’s degrees has increased slightly, from 10% to 12% between 2010 and 2022.

  • Among 25-29-year-olds, 43% of the male population had associate’s degrees.
  • Among 25-29 year-olds, 55% of the female population had associate’s degrees.
  • The total number of associate’s degree earners rose by 8% from 2010 to 2022. 

Racial Demographics of Associate Degree Holders 

In every racial category, more people are entering post-secondary education. Patterns in race distribution at this level are similar to those at the high school level. Many disparities have either remained level or decreased; think tanks and education specialists attribute decreases to a greater understanding of how racial bias in education can degrade student aptitude.

  • In the past 20 years, Latino/Hispanic retention has increased by 18.8%.
  • In 2000, White students were almost three times (283%) more likely to earn an associate’s degree. than their Latino/Hispanic counterparts. 
  • By 2022, this gap had narrowed significantly, though White students are still 129% more likely to graduate.
  • Similarly, White students were 168% more likely to receive an associate’s degree than Black students in 2000.
  • By 2022, White students were still 156% more likely to obtain an associate’s degree than their Black counterparts.

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Occupations for Associate degree holders

Unemployment is only 2% for associate’s degree holders. While service positions remain among the top three occupations, an associate’s degree significantly increases the likelihood of holding a professional or management position. 

  • The top 3 employing industries are education and health, medical assistants, trade, and professional and business services.
  • Associate’s degree holders can earn roughly $52,249 per year. 
  • 2.7% were unemployed.
  • The majority of associate degree holders – over 28% – work in the educational and health services industry.

Bachelor’s Degree

The gender gap among those with bachelor’s degrees has slightly increased from 8% to 9% between 2010 and 2022. In 2022, among bachelor’s degree earners: 35% were men and 44% were women.

  • Having a bachelor’s degree gives you a 119% more chance of owning a home compared to if you just have a high school diploma.
  • 67.3% of bachelor’s degree holders own a home.
  • Bachelor’s degree earners were 35% male.
  • Bachelor’s degree earners were 44% female.

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Racial Demographics of Bachelor Degree Holders 

Racial inequality is greater among those with bachelor’s and higher degrees. Patterns in race distribution at this level are similar to those at lower levels, with Latino/Hispanic retention up by 223%. The gap between Latino/Hispanic and White is still 182%; the gap between White and Black is 160%, shrinking from 196% in 2005.

  • In 2022, White 25- to 29-year-olds were 160% more likely than their Black counterparts to have bachelor’s degrees or higher. 
  • In 2005, however, the gap between these groups was closer to 196%. 
  • Between Whites and Latinos/Hispanics in this age group, the 2022 gap was 223%. 
  • Between Whites and Latinos/Hispanics in this age group, The 2005 gap was 308%.

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Occupations for Bachelor degree holders

A bachelor’s degree significantly increases the likelihood of working in management. In 2019, the top occupations among this demographic include sales and professional titles. Education and health is the top industry.

  • 2.2% were unemployed.
  • Bachelor’s degree holders can earn up to roughly $85,301 per year.
  • The health, medical, and research industries employ the largest demographic of bachelor’s degree holders – more than 60%. 
  • Professional and business industries and the financial industry are the second and third largest employers of people with a bachelor’s degree.

Master’s Degree and Higher

The gender gap among those with a master’s degree or higher has widened in two ways. In 2022, 8% of men and 12% of women earned an advanced degree.

  • The gender gap favored women by 5%.
  • Between 2010 and 2022, the gender gap increased from 3% to 5%, favoring women.
  • Having a master’s degree gives you a 109% greater chance of owning a home compared to a bachelor’s degree.
  • 73.6% of master’s degree holders own a home.
  • Professional and doctoral degree holders are also most likely to be married and own their own homes.

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Racial Demographics of Master’s Degree Holders and Higher

Racial inequality is worst at the highest education levels. There are few statistics available regarding race and ethnic distribution at this level, so it is difficult to detect patterns.

  • Asians are 11 times more likely than Latinos/Hispanics to hold an advanced degree. 
  • Asian attainment is at least 440% higher than other races. 
  • The gap between white and black master’s degree holders is 44%, which is the 2nd widest after the Bachelor level. 

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Occupations for Master Degree Holders and Higher

Master’s and Professional degree-holders have the lowest unemployment rates. The majority of individuals with master’s degrees or higher work in professional and related occupations. Farming, forestry, and fishing occupations employed the fewest amount of people with a master’s degree or higher. 

  • 1.9% were unemployed. 
  • Master’s degree holders can earn up to roughly $123,829, yearly.  
  • More than 65% of master’s degree holders work in occupations classified as physician’s assistants, therapists, or related professions. 
  • Similarly, the top profession among Master’s degree holders is speech-language pathologists, at 82%.
  • The second largest group of master’s degree holders work are nurse practitioners or nurse midwives– roughly 73%. 


  1. National Center for Education Statistics (NCES): Fast Facts- Educational Attainment
  2. National Center for Education Statistics (NCES): Annual Reports – Educational Attainment of Young Adults 
  3. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Detailed Occupation by Educational Attainment
  4. iPropertyManagement: Homeownership Rate by Age
  5. MarketWatch: The Higher Your Degree the More Likely You Are to Buy a House
  6. U.S. Department of Commerce: Spotlight on U.S. Educational Attainment
  7. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Earnings and unemployment rates by educational attainment, 2022
  8. American Council on Education: Educational Attainment, by Race and Ethnicity