College Grads Earn More, but Racial Disparities Persist

By Coleman, Toni | Diverse Issues in Higher Education, November 16, 2006 | Go to article overview

College Grads Earn More, but Racial Disparities Persist


Coleman, Toni, Diverse Issues in Higher Education


Adults with at least a bachelors degree earned almost twice as much as those with just a high school diploma, but income disparities across racial and gender lines persist, according to new U.S. Census Bureau data.

The data tables in "Educational Attainment in the United States: 2005" indicate bachelors-degree holders earned an average of $51,554 in 2004, compared to $28,645 earned by high school graduates and the $19,169 earned by those without a high school diploma.

Across all educational backgrounds, Black and Hispanic workers tended to earn less than their White and Asian counterparts, according to the data. Even having a bachelor's degree did not equalize earnings across races. Blacks with bachelor's degrees earned $42,342 while Hispanics earned $45,166, Asians earned $47,912 and Whites earned $53,411. Blacks with doctoral degrees earned $82,615, compared to $94,426 earned by Whites.

More women than men reported holding at least an associate's degree, but women did not outpace men in earnings. On average, women with bachelor's degrees earned 61 percent of what men with bachelor's degrees earned.

Dr. William Spriggs, chair of the economics department at Howard University, says women continue to face occupational discrimination, being segregated in positions that pay less than other positions requiring the same level of education, such as teaching and nursing. …

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