NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Census Finds U.S. Education Gains

August 6, 2001

The proportion of Americans who have at least graduated from high school rose dramatically during the 1990s, a special Bureau of the Census survey has found. Overall, education levels improved substantially between 1990 and 2000.

  • Last year, 82 percent of persons at least 25 years old had graduated from high school -- up from 75.2 percent a decade earlier.
  • And last year, 25 percent of people in that age group held at least a bachelor's degree -- compared to 20.3 percent in 1990.
  • The proportion of those with a graduate or professional degree climbed from 7 percent to 9 percent.
  • The portion of the population having less than a ninth-grade education declined from 10.4 percent to 6.9 percent over the period.

Residents of Washington, D.C., were singled out as the most educated geographic group in America -- with 41.1 percent of those 25 or older holding at least a bachelor's degree. Nearly as well schooled were residents of Massachusetts, Colorado and Connecticut.

Eighteen percent of the U.S. population age 5 and older spoke a language other than English at home last year.

It took the 76 percent of U.S. workers who drive to work, the 11 percent riding in car pools and the 5 percent using public transportation an average of 24 minutes to commute.

The data come from the Census 2000 Supplemental Survey -- a trial survey designed to provide information annually, rather than every decade.

Source: August Gribbin, "Census: U.S. More Educated," Washington Times, August 6, 2001.