January 23, 2022

Reference: New Data/Statistics: “Educational Attainment in the United States: 2015”

New from the U.S. Census. Released today.

From a Report Summary:

The percentage of Asians in the U.S. with a bachelor’s degree or higher rose to 54 percent in 2015, up from 38 percent in 1995, according to a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau. In addition, Asians and non-Hispanic whites were more likely to hold a bachelor’s degree or higher when compared with blacks and Hispanics.

“We found the percentage of Asian-Americans who have a bachelor’s degree or higher to be greater than the overall rate of 33 percent for the total population,” said Camille Ryan, a statistician in the Census Bureau’s Education and Social Stratification Branch. “In addition, Asian-Americans born in the U.S. who have a bachelor’s degree or higher reached 55 percent in 2015, matching their foreign-born counterparts.”

These findings are from the Census Bureau’s Educational Attainment in the United States: 2015 report that uses statistics from the Current Population Survey’s Annual Social and Economic Supplement to examine the educational attainment of adults who are age 25 and older by demographic and social characteristics, such as age, sex, race and Hispanic origin, nativity and disability status.

In 2015, the majority of adults, 88 percent, were at least high school graduates and more than half, 59 percent, had completed at least some college. One out of three adults reported having at least a bachelor’s degree and 12 percent reported having an advanced degree, such as a master’s, professional or doctorate degree.

The report also found that 36 percent of 25- to 29-year-olds held a bachelor’s degree or higher in 2015, up from 25 percent in 1995 and 21 percent in 1975. Moreover, the rate of college completion for the population 25 and older grew to 33 percent in 2015, up from 23 percent in 1995.

Bachelor’s degree or higher attainment rates were not statistically different for men and women age 25 and older at 32 percent and 33 percent, respectively, according to the Current Population Survey. Previously released American Community Survey findings show higher college attainment among women. The American Community Survey is able to measure smaller differences in the population because of its larger sample size.

  • In 2015, people 65 and older reported lower levels of high school and college attainment than all younger age groups.
  • Among adults 65 and older, 84 percent had completed at least a high school education compared with 91 percent of adults age 25 to 34 and 89 percent of adults age 35 to 44 years and 45 to 64. In addition, 27 percent of the population 65 and older reported having a bachelor’s degree or more compared with 36 percent of adults 25 to 34 years old and 32 percent of adults 45 to 64.


  • Non-Hispanic whites reported the highest percentage of adults with at least a high school education at 93 percent. Asians reported the highest percentage of those with a bachelor’s degree or higher at 54 percent. Hispanics reported the lowest percentage of adults who completed high school or more, at 67 percent, and who had advanced degrees, at 5 percent.

Other highlights

  • Foreign-born adults were less likely than native-born adults to have a high school education or higher; however, they were equally likely to have an advanced (postgraduate) degree.
  • Adults without a disability were more likely to hold a bachelor’s degree than adults who have a disability.

Direct to Full Text Report (and Embedded Below)

Educational Attainment in the United States: 2015

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.