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Today’s young workers are more likely than ever to have a bachelor’s degree

Graduation Cap and Diploma on White with Soft Shadow.

Graduation Cap and Diploma on White with Soft Shadow.

by Nikki Graf
As U.S. college graduates earn their bachelor’s degrees and enter the job market this month, data from the Census Bureau show that the share of college-educated young adults in today’s workforce is higher than ever before.
Four-in-ten Millennial workers ages 25 to 29 had at least a bachelor’s degree in 2016, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of Current Population Survey data. That compares with 32% of Generation X workers and smaller shares of the Baby Boom and Silent generations when they were in the same age range.
In 2016, almost half (46%) of employed Millennial women ages 25 to 29 had a bachelor’s degree or more, up substantially from 36% of Gen X women workers when they were the same age in 2000. Millennial men in the workforce are also more likely to hold a bachelor’s degree than their Gen X counterparts were as young adults. Among employed men ages 25 to 29, the share of college graduates rose from 29% in 2000 to 36% in 2016 – a considerable increase, but still smaller than that seen among young women. Consequently, the gender gap in college attainment among young workers grew to 10 percentage points in 2016.
This gender gap is driven in part by the fact that young women are more likely to finish college than their male counterparts. In 2016, among 25- to 29-year-olds, women were 7 percentage points more likely than comparable men to have at least a bachelor’s degree.
Asian workers in the U.S. are the most likely to have completed at least a bachelor’s degree. In 2016, about two-thirds (65%) of Asian workers ages 25 to 29 had at least a bachelor’s degree, compared with 47% of white workers in this age group. (-Pew Research Group)


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