The Gender Gap in Educational Attainment in the United States

New data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows the extent of the gender gap in higher educational attainments in the United States. In 2017, 35,112,000 living men in the United States held a four-year college degree. This is 33.7 percent of all men over the age of 25. For women, 38,992,000 individuals held a four-year college degree. This was 36.4 percent of all women over the age of 25.

Women hold a large lead in master’s degrees. In 2017, 11,543,000 women held a master’s degree but no higher credential. For men the figure was 9,049,000. Thus, 10.3 percent of adult women but only 8.7 percent of adult men held a master’s degree but no higher degree.

Despite the fact that in recent years women have earned more professional degrees and doctorates than men, for all living adults, men still hold an overall lead over women in degree attainment at these levels. In 2017, 1,765,000 men and 1,407,000 women held professional degrees. That year, there were 2,392,000 adult men who had earned a doctorate compared to 1,685,000 women.

For those who are interested, the Census Bureau statistics are also broken down by marital status, citizenship, nativity, labor force status, occupation, and other characteristics.

Filed Under: Degree AttainmentsResearch/Study

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