Youth at college and work

February 19, 2010

At age 22, women are more likely to be enrolled in college than men and are also more likely to have completed a bachelor's degree. Among 22-year-olds not enrolled in college, men are more likely than women to be employed in a civilian job or serving in the military.

School enrollment status of young adults during the October when age 22, by sex, race, and ethnicity, 2002–07
[Chart data]

Twenty-seven percent of young adults were enrolled in college during the October when they were age 22, and 10 percent had received a bachelor's degree. Forty-four percent of 22-year-olds had graduated from high school and were not enrolled in college, and 7 percent had earned a General Educational Development (GED) credential and were not enrolled in college. Eleven percent of individuals were high school dropouts during the October when they were age 22.

Women were more likely than men to be enrolled in college and were more likely to have received a bachelor's degree. Twenty-nine percent of women were attending college during the October when they were age 22, compared with 25 percent of men. Moreover, 13 percent of women had earned a bachelor's degree, compared with 7 percent of men.

Employment status of young adults not enrolled in school during the October when age 22, by high school graduation status and sex, 2002–07
[Chart data]

At age 22, labor force status differed substantially between high school dropouts, high school graduates who had never attended college, and individuals who had left college. Those with more education were more likely to be employed in civilian jobs.

Ten percent of male high school graduates who had never enrolled in college were in the Armed Forces during the October when they were age 22, as were 7 percent of the 22-year-old men who had attended college but had not earned a bachelor's degree and were no longer enrolled. Three percent of 22-year-old men with a bachelor's degree were serving in the Armed Forces.

These data are from the National Longitudinal Surveys. See "America's Youth at 22: School Enrollment, Training, and Employment Transitions Between Ages 21 and 22" (HTML) (PDF), news release USDL-10-0099, to learn more. These data are from the first 11 annual rounds of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997 (NLSY97), which is a nationally representative survey of about 9,000 young men and women who were born during the years 1980 to 1984.


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Youth at college and work on the Internet at (visited September 30, 2016).


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