Census Bureau Releases Data on Educational Attainment by Race, Ethnicity

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FROM STAFF AND NEWS WIRE REPORTS

WASHINGTON

More U.S. residents than ever have high school and college diplomas, although rates still vary greatly by race and ethnicity, the Census Bu reau says.

Among those 25 and older last year, 84.6 percent had graduated from high school, up from 84.1 percent the previous year, according to bureau estimates.

The share of people with at least a bache lor's degree from college also inched up, from 26.7 percent to 27.2 percent, continuing a decades -long rise.

State breakdowns showed that Mississippi ranked near the bottom in both measures of educational attainment.

High school graduates made up 81.2 percent of Mississippi's over -25 population, cen sus figures showed. State residents with a bachelor's degree or higher make up 19.3 percent of the population.

Though educational levels have risen for Blacks and Hispanics, both ethnic groups still trail Whites in most categories.

More than 89 percent of Whites had gradu ated from high school, compared with 80 percent of Blacks and 57 percent of Hispanics.

Data going back at least a decade show a narrowing of the disparity between Whites and Blacks, although such figures aren't precisely comparable due to changes in the way the Census Bureau tracked race and ethnic data, said bureau statistician Nicole Stoops.

In 1993, 84 percent of Whites were high school graduates, along with 70 percent of Blacks and 53 percent of Latinos.

Nearly 88 percent of Asians are high school graduates, but there was no historical data available from the bureau.

Meanwhile, the influx into the United States of lesser -educated Latino immigrants over the past decade has in large part kept the overall rate for Hispanics lower, said Deborah Reed, an economist at the Public Policy Institute of California, a San Francisco -based re search group. …