Educational attainment of women in the labor force, 1970–2010

December 29, 2011

Over the past 40 years, the educational attainment of women aged 25 to 64 in the labor force has risen substantially. In 2010, 36 percent of these women held college degrees, compared with 11 percent in 1970.

Percent distribution of women in the civilian labor force, aged 25 to 64 years, by educational attainment, 1970–2010
[Chart data]

In 2010, 7 percent of women aged 25 to 64 in the labor force were high school dropouts, down from 34 percent in 1970. Among these women, 30 percent attended some college (no degree), or held an associate’s degree in 2010, up from 11 percent in 1970.

These data are from the Current Population Survey. To learn more, see Women in the Labor Force: A Databook (2011 Edition), BLS Report 1034, December 2011. Due to rounding, the sum of percent distributions may not equal 100. Data for 1970, 1980, and 1990 are for March of each year and the educational attainment categories are based on the number of years of school completed (i.e. less than 4 years of high school, 4 years of high school and no college, 1 to 3 years of college, and 4 years or more of college). Data for 2000 and 2010 are annual averages and refer to the highest diploma or degree received.


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Educational attainment of women in the labor force, 1970–2010 on the Internet at (visited July 28, 2016).


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