More education still means more pay in 2014

September 02, 2015

September marks the time when students go back to school for another year of education. Few things affect people’s earnings power more than their level of education. In general, more education means more dollars earned. In 2014, median weekly earnings for people with a bachelor’s degree or higher were $1,193, compared with $488 for those with less than a high school diploma. High school graduates without any college earned $668 per week in 2014, and those with some college or an associate degree earned $761 per week.

Median weekly earnings in 2014 dollars of people 25 years and older, by educational attainment and gender, 1979–2014
Year Both sexes, less than high school Both sexes, high school graduates Both sexes, some college or associate degree Both sexes, bachelor's degree or higher Men, less than high school Men, high school graduates Men, some college or associate degree Men, bachelor's degree or higher Women, less than high school Women, high school graduates Women, some college or associate degree Women, bachelor's degree or higher

1979

$638 $757 $857 $1,046 $766 $936 $1,000 $1,204 $462 $562 $641 $802

1980

608 729 833 1,030 732 896 981 1,170 449 551 633 795

1981

600 715 810 1,018 715 890 972 1,188 438 542 638 795

1982

585 712 828 1,033 691 882 969 1,186 434 557 646 816

1983

579 704 821 1,043 681 878 955 1,172 441 557 652 835

1984

570 701 829 1,054 668 866 967 1,219 434 562 662 846

1985

567 700 838 1,063 660 855 992 1,239 424 563 666 870

1986

573 709 843 1,082 662 858 1,000 1,274 429 571 680 899

1987

567 711 840 1,126 647 844 992 1,303 427 575 693 930

1988

554 708 827 1,125 638 840 967 1,306 425 573 692 933

1989

548 692 834 1,124 638 830 954 1,301 426 561 699 935

1990

533 678 837 1,121 613 807 953 1,302 422 554 694 940

1991

520 673 829 1,129 592 797 954 1,295 424 556 693 953

1992

514 666 800 1,150 580 792 917 1,307 423 557 673 982

1993

506 669 797 1,153 574 785 923 1,300 424 560 681 985

1994

485 665 788 1,158 540 784 927 1,305 406 555 668 1,002

1995

477 667 784 1,153 535 782 920 1,304 404 549 659 994

1996

477 666 779 1,140 537 776 908 1,314 403 549 665 988

1997

472 678 787 1,146 537 787 913 1,318 404 556 675 988

1998

489 695 810 1,192 556 811 933 1,363 411 575 691 1,026

1999

491 696 824 1,222 561 824 945 1,388 412 575 693 1,051

2000

498 695 820 1,226 558 813 950 1,403 418 578 695 1,040

2001

511 695 825 1,231 560 814 967 1,426 422 592 695 1,051

2002

511 704 828 1,238 554 812 962 1,434 428 603 714 1,064

2003

510 713 822 1,241 552 808 952 1,456 423 610 721 1,071

2004

503 719 828 1,236 559 808 954 1,432 419 612 723 1,078

2005

496 707 812 1,228 552 790 928 1,415 413 598 712 1,070

2006

492 698 812 1,219 550 796 934 1,414 420 587 707 1,062

2007

489 689 804 1,224 549 787 925 1,419 421 584 695 1,064

2008

498 680 794 1,227 547 780 913 1,414 416 572 691 1,051

2009

501 691 801 1,255 552 790 922 1,465 422 598 695 1,071

2010

482 680 797 1,242 528 771 917 1,444 421 590 693 1,071

2011

475 672 778 1,211 514 758 884 1,402 416 583 679 1,051

2012

486 672 772 1,201 524 758 884 1,413 398 578 679 1,032

2013

480 662 760 1,213 508 744 872 1,418 407 582 668 1,060

2014

488 668 761 1,193 517 751 872 1,385 409 578 661 1,049

In 2014, median weekly earnings for men with a bachelor’s degree or higher were $1,385, compared with $1,049 for women with the same level of education. On the other end of the scale, among people without a high school diploma, men earned just $517 per week in 2014 and women earned $409 per week.

At each level of education, women have fared better than men with respect to earnings growth. Although both women and men without a high school diploma have experienced declines in inflation-adjusted earnings since 1979, the drop for women was much smaller than that for men: an 11-percent decrease for women compared with a 33-percent decline for men. On an inflation-adjusted basis, earnings for women with a bachelor’s degree or higher have increased by 31 percent since 1979, while those of their male counterparts have risen by 15 percent.

These earnings data are annual averages from the Current Population Survey. The CPI-U-RS from the Consumer Price Index program is used to convert the pre-2014 earnings data into constant 2014 dollars.

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, More education still means more pay in 2014 on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2015/more-education-still-means-more-pay-in-2014.htm (visited May 28, 2016).

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