Young men, minorities worse off in hunt for college degrees: study

Fri Mar 1, 2013 3:23pm EST
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By Susan Heavey

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Wide racial and gender gaps persist among young Americans when it comes to earning a college degree and getting a job, according to fresh data from a 14-year government survey released on Friday.

The study of about 9,000 25-year-olds - part of the so-called "millennial generation" - found 30 percent of such young women in the United States had earned a bachelor's degree compared to 22 percent of men.

Those women who had at least a bachelor's degree were more likely to be employed than similarly educated men and spend less time out of work, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said.

"In general, from ages 22 to 25, individuals with more education held more jobs, worked more weeks, and were less likely to be out of the labor force," the statistics agency said.

Sociology professor Thomas DiPrete, co-director of Columbia University's Center for the Study of Wealth and Inequality, said the data highlights a worrying gender gap when it comes to college education, with men slipping behind.

While the study, which began in 1997, did not track wages, "the pattern is quite obvious that the higher educated are doing much better," said DiPrete, who analyzed other data from the BLS's long-term survey in his forthcoming book, "The Rise of Women."

The agency, which is part of the U.S. Department of Labor, also found large educational differences by race.

At age 25, blacks and Hispanics were twice as likely as whites to be high school dropouts, while whites were more than twice as likely to have earned a bachelor's degree, the survey showed.   Continued...

Graduates celebrate during a commencement ceremony in New York in a 2005 file photo. REUTERS/Chip East