The Racial Gap in College Participation Rates in the United States

The U.S. Census Burea recently released new data on college participation in the United States for the year 2018. In 2018, there were 3,876,000 African American high school graduates below the age of 25 in the United States. Of these, 1,723,000 were enrolled in postsecondary education in October 2018. Thus, the college participation rate for this age group was 44.5 percent. For non-Hispanic Whites, the college participation rate for this age group was 48 percent.

The college participation rate for Black male high school graduates below the age of 25 was 41.2 percent. For Black women in this age group, the college participation rate was 47.3 percent.

If we narrow the data to include only those students who graduated from high school in the spring of 2018, we find that 64.1 percent of Black students had enrolled in postsecondary education by October 2018. For 2018 non-Hispanic White high school graduates, 71.3 percent were enrolled in postsecondary education by October 2018.


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