NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


March 5, 2007

A new report from the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University reiterates what should be the mantra for every young black person looking ahead to a difficult walk in life: education, education, education, says Bob Herbert in the New York Times.

The report, which focuses on black males, emphasizes the importance of education in overcoming a tough employment environment:

  • For males in each of the three race-ethnic groups (blacks, Hispanics and whites), employment rates in 2005 increased steadily and strongly with their educational attainment.
  • This was especially true for black males, for whom employment rates rose from a low of 33 percent among high school dropouts to 57 percent among high school graduates, and to a high of 86 percent among four-year college graduates.

Further, the differences in rates of employment between white men and black men narrow considerably as black men gain additional schooling:

  • The gap in employment to population ratios between young white and black males narrows from 20 percentage points among high school dropouts to16 percentage points among high school graduates,
  • It further narrows to 8 percentage points among those men completing 1-3 years of college, and to only two percentage points for four-year college graduates.

And mot only does the employment situation improve, so does the quality of life, says Herbert:

  • A black male who drops out of high school is 60 times more likely to find himself in prison than one with a bachelor's degree.
  • Conversely, black males who graduate from a four-year college will make, over the course of a lifetime, more than twice the mean earnings of a black high school graduate, which is a difference of more than a million dollars.

Source: Bob Herbert, "Education, Education, Education," New York Times, March 5, 2007.

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