The Racial Gap in Educational Attainment in the United States

The U.S. Census Bureau recently released new data on the educational attainment of the nation’s population.

In 2021, there were 59,964,000 non-Hispanic White Americans over the age of 25 in the United States who had earned at least a bachelor’s degree. They made up 41.7 percent of the total adult population of non-Hispanic Whites in the United States.

There were 7,921,000 African Americans over the age of 25 in the United States who had earned at least a bachelor’s degree. They made up 28.1 percent of the total adult population of African Americans in the United States. These numbers have grown steadily in recent years.

If we break the data down by gender, we find that 24.9 percent of African American men and 30.8 percent of African American women over the age of 25 had obtained at least a bachelor’s degree.

Some 1,591,000 Black women had earned a master’s degree but no higher degree. In 2021 there were 841,000 Black men who had earned a master’s degree but no higher degree.

Black women now hold a lead over Black men in professional fields such as law, medicine, dentistry, etc. In 2021, there were 125,000 Black men who had earned a professional degree compared to 139,000 Black women.

In 2021, there were 151,000 Black men who held doctoral degrees compared to 221,000 Black women.

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  1. Will someone tell me why it is that black women still earn less than black men on average, despite having earned more college degrees.

    • Think critically for moment.
      How many women do you know currently or have you known over your lifetime that would or are willingly signing up for physically demanding and risky (injury wise) blue collar jobs such as:
      *iron worker
      *streets and sanitation
      *oil rig workers
      *telephone line repair aka pole climbers
      *fire and rescue
      *construction (outdoor vs indoor)
      *asphalt and paving
      *coal miner

      These are just a few I came up with while staring out my window…but you get the idea.

      Women complain about “office jobs” and “executive level” jobs they see men in …not realizing that these jobs compromise less than 40% (2/5) of total male employment. They don’t talk about getting the jobs that men do that they (women) don’t want to do. And, those jobs, given the inherent risks associated with them, tend to pay higher than the national avg wage.


  2. You should be consistent in your analytics. Regarding bachelor’s degrees, you should breakdown, the total of 7,921,00 between black males ‘and females so your percentage totals 100%. Your 24.9% Black males and 30.8% Black female does not equal 100%. Your analytics regarding masters, professional fields and doctoral are consistent. Great information and keep up the great work!

  3. Good points … appreciated the clarification on percentages for Bachelor degrees. Was the same logic used for Master and Doctoral degrees?

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