Trends in Educational Attainment by Sex, Race/Ethnicity, and Nativity in the United States, 1989-2005

Bethany Everett, University of Colorado at Boulder
Richard G. Rogers, University of Colorado at Boulder

Trends in education are particularly significant because they affect individual life choices and chances. Yet surprisingly few studies have examined differences in educational attainment by detailed demographic subpopulations in recent years. This research documents trends in education by age, sex, race/ethnicity, and nativity between 1989 and 2005 to gain a better understanding of how disparities in education have changed over time. We employ the 1989-2005 National Health Interview Surveys (n=1,054,062). We find that among individuals aged 25-44 in 2005, foreign-born Mexican American men obtained just 9.5 years of education whereas comparable women had 9.8 years, and foreign- born Cuban American men had 13.2 years of education whereas comparable women had 13.7 years. We also show increases in education for all race/ethnic groups over time, with the most substantial gains among Hispanic subpopulations. Our results provide insight into trends in education and highlight the value of disaggregating educational attainment levels by demographic subpopulations.

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Presented in Session 103: Race, Ethnicity, and Education