March 4, 2021

New Report from U.S. Census: Education Impacts Work-Life Earnings Five Times More Than Other Demographic Factors

Direct to New U.S. Census Report: Education and Synthetic Work-Life Earnings (18 Pages; PDF)

From the Report Summary:

 According to a new U.S. Census Bureau study, education levels had more effect on earnings over a 40-year span in the workforce than any other demographic factor, such as gender, race and Hispanic origin. For example, a worker with a professional degree is expected to make more than a worker with a eighth grade education or lower.

Some groups, such as non-Hispanic white males, Asian males and Asian females, benefit more from higher levels of education than other groups over a 40-year career for those with a professional degree. White males with a professional degree make more than double (about $2.4 million more) than that of Hispanic females with the same level of education.

(Note: Hispanics may be any race. All references in this news release to race groups such as black or white exclude Hispanic members of the race group in question; that is, all are “non-Hispanic.”)

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Other highlights:

  • Overall, white males had higher earnings than any other group at every education level, with the exception of those with a master’s degree, which was topped by Asian males, and those with a professional degree, where Asian males were not significantly different from white males.
  • In general, women in the most economically advantaged race groups usually earn less than men in the most disadvantaged race groups. For example, a white female with master’s degree is expected to earn $2.4 million over a 40-year work-life. In comparison, a Hispanic male with a master’s degree is expected to earn $2.8 million.
  • For Asian, black and Hispanic groups whose highest education completed is high school, the difference between each group’s work-life earnings was not large compared with the differences between these groups when they had higher levels of education.
  • Asian men and women with a bachelor’s degree or higher had greater returns on higher education than blacks or Hispanics of either gender. For example, an Asian female with a professional degree made $3.7 million in work-life earnings compared with $2.3 million for a Hispanic female with a professional degree.
  • Naturalized citizens saw a small yearly increase in earnings over the native-born population ($1,210), but those who were not citizens made $2,446 less a year than the native-born.
  • Language spoken at home had an effect on earnings: those who spoke a language at home other than English saw a decrease in annual earnings after considering all other factors. Even those who speak English “very well” saw a decrease of $989 in annual earnings compared with English-only speakers.
  • Geography impacted earnings, showing higher earnings in the Pacific states and in New England and lowest earnings in East South Central states.

Direct to New U.S. Census Report: Education and Synthetic Work-Life Earnings (18 Pages; PDF)

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

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