Black women report highest earnings premium for additional education

February 03, 1999

In 1998, median weekly earnings of full-time workers with a high school diploma were $479, compared with $753 for those with a bachelor’s degree, and $956 for those with an advanced degree. Thus, a bachelor’s degree provided an earnings premium of 57 percent and an advanced degree increased earnings 100 percent over a high school diploma.

Median weekly earnings of full-time wage and salary workers by selected characteristics, 1998
[Chart data—TXT]

While each gender and racial cross group reported earnings premiums for additional education, black women enjoyed the largest increases in wages with more schooling. During 1998, black women with a high school education earned $356 per week, compared with $605 (a 70 percent premium) for black women with a bachelor’s degree and $788 (a 121 percent premium) for black women with an advanced degree.

Despite the larger premiums to education among black women, however, their earnings were still lower than the average for all workers at all three degree levels.

These earnings data, based on 1998 annual averages, are produced by the Current Population Survey. More information can be found in news release USDL 99-15, "Usual Weekly Earnings of Wage and Salary Workers, Fourth Quarter 1998."


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Black women report highest earnings premium for additional education on the Internet at (visited September 30, 2016).


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