Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

A college degree pays dividends for a lifetime, report finds

Adults with at least a college degree went unemployed at about half the rate of those with only a high school degree during the Great Recession, according to a new report from the nonprofit College Board.

Among adults age 25 and older, unemployment hit 4.6 percent in 2009 for those with a four-year college degree, according to the report Education Pays 2010. The jobless rate for high school graduates that year was nearly double, 9.7 percent.

The college-educated have consistently found more work than those with only a high school diploma. But the recession magnified the gap. In 1999, by contrast, overall unemployment was 4 percent and the gap between jobless rates for college and high school graduates was 1.7 points.

The gap has widened in recent years. Between 2005 and 2009, the difference in unemployment rates between college and high school graduates grew from 2.3 points to 5.1 points.

"If it wasn't clear before, it should be abundantly clear now that a college graduate is far more competitive in today's workplace," said Gaston Caperton, the College Board president, in a statement.

Income increased more rapidly in recent years for college graduates, as well. As of 2008, college graduates earned $22,000 more a year than high school graduates, $55,700 vs. $33,800. A college graduate can now expect to earn two-thirds more in lifetime pay than a high school graduate.

The far-reaching report, released at midnight by the educational nonprofit, shows the college-educated living not only a more prosperous life but a healthier one:

Obesity rates were lower in 2008 for the college-educated, 20 percent, than for the high-school educated, 34 percent.

Rates of smoking declined from 14 percent to 9 percent among college-educated adults over the past decade, while the rate for high school graduates dipped only from 29 percent to 27 percent.

And college graduates were almost twice as likely in 2008 to exercise vigorously than high school graduates, 63 percent vs. 37 percent.

Follow College Inc. on Twitter.

By Daniel deVise  | September 21, 2010; 12:00 AM ET
Categories:  Attainment, Research  | Tags:  College Board report, Education Pays, earnings college graduates, education and unemployment, unemployment college graduates  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Program boosts community college transfers
Next: Report: U.S. won't regain grad lead anytime soon


It's not just that college graduates make more money, it's that the gap in earnings between those who complete college and those who don't is widening -- strongly suggesting that the supply of graduates is not sufficient to meet the existing jobs demand. With the need for college graduates growing, this reflects a serious long-term problem for the nation.

Lumina Foundation for Education’s new report, A Stronger Nation ( shows that less than 38% of adults hold degrees, when 60% of jobs in the next decade will require them. We now need to act aggressively to ramp up the supply of college graduates.

-Dewayne Matthews, Vice President for Policy and Strategy, Lumina Foundation for Education

Posted by: landerson3 | September 21, 2010 11:18 AM | Report abuse

what people want are REAL JOBS.

It seems there is a facebook group for everything:

Posted by: joffy1 | September 21, 2010 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Post a Comment

We encourage users to analyze, comment on and even challenge's articles, blogs, reviews and multimedia features.

User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. Finally, we will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or privacy policies or any other policies governing this site. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions.

characters remaining

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company