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Understanding equity through Census Bureau data

Sep 14, 2021
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Educational attainment is a key indicator of success and the Census Bureau’s annual educational attainment and school enrollment tables provide valuable information on educational attainment by race, sex and region and on how school enrollment is changing.

Our reports on school enrollment and educational attainment also inform equity across demographic groups over time.

In 2015, greater percentages of Black, Hispanic and Asian students were enrolled in college than during the prerecession period of 2000-2007. For example, Hispanic undergraduate enrollment increased greatly, as the percentage of 15- to 34-year-olds enrolled in undergraduate college increased from 11.9% in 2000 to 18.4% in 2015.

From 2005–2009 to 2015–2019, the percentage of people with a bachelor’s degree increased for all race groups. However, growth in bachelor’s degree attainment varied by race, with each race group following a different pattern.

Race groups with relatively low levels of bachelor’s degree attainment experienced higher levels of growth (percentage change) in attainment compared with race groups that started with higher levels of education.

For example, Black alone, Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander alone, and Some Other Race alone groups all saw the percentage of people with bachelor’s degrees expand by 20% or more.

Plus, Hispanics or Latinos (of any race) and those identifying as Two or More races had bachelor’s degree attainment increase by 30% or more from 2005–2009 to 2015–2019.

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