Bachelor’s Degree or Higher: The percentage of the population ages 25 and older who have a Bachelor’s (4-year) degree or higher level of education
Associate’s Degree or Higher: The percentage of the population ages 25 and older who have an Associate’s (2- year) Degree
Less than High School: The percentage of the population ages 25 and older without a high school diploma
American Community Survey, 5-year estimates, Tables B14004 & B15002
2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022
*Note: Each year of available data shown above is a 5-year estimate, or an average of data collected over a five year period. 5-year estimates are used to increase the reliability of the data at small geographies like neighborhoods and census tracts. The years shown on the NDSC map represent the final year of the five year average (e.g. “2010” represents 2006-2010 data, “2011” represents 2007-2011 data, and so on). For the most impactful comparison of data over time, the ACS recommends comparing non-overlapping years (e.g. 2010-14 with 2015-19).
Why are these variables important to measure?
Bachelor’s Degree or Higher
Measuring education level is also an important tool for neighborhood development as communities with a large number of college graduates may have a different demand certain goods and services as well as different overall qualifications as a workforce. A growing number of students believe that they must go to graduate school to be competitive in applying for jobs, adding more time in school and higher tuition costs. Approximately 45% of the current federal student loan debt is taken for master’s and PhD programs. Students earn more on average after completing a graduate degree.
Associate’s Degree or Higher
Black and Latino students make up nearly 70% of the Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD) enrollment and are overrepresented in associate’s degrees and certificate attainment. Low-income students are also more likely to enroll in vocational programs. However, only 13% of both Black and Latinx students are supported to transfer within four years of enrolling compared to 46% of white students. The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated this disparity; in Fall 2020, LACCD Latinx student enrollment decreased by 32% and Black student enrollment decreased by 40%. High rates of unemployment created affordability barriers for students, concerns of the quality of online education deterred students from wanting to enroll, and fears of catching COVID-19 prevented continuing students from re-enrolling. Associate degree recipients are much more likely to make upper-middle income wages compared to if they had not earned it. Policies and strategies to retain students in CCC and support students in receiving their credentials is important for economic mobility and educational attainment.
Less than High School
Not obtaining a high school diploma can often lead to lower lifetime earnings, higher chances of living in poverty, and may even contribute to lower health outcomes.
American Community Survey. 2017 Subject Definitions. Link.
Belfield, Clive R., Henry M. Levin, and Rachel Rosen. “The economic value of opportunity youth.” Civic Enterprises. Link
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