At age 23, women were more likely than men to have earned a bachelor’s degree and were equally likely to be enrolled in college.
Nineteen percent of individuals had earned a bachelor’s degree by the October when they were age 23. Forty-seven percent of 23-year-olds had graduated from high school and were not enrolled in college, and 8 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 23.
Women were 1.6 times as likely as men to have earned a bachelor’s degree by the October when they were age 23 and were equally likely to be enrolled in college. Twenty-three percent of women had earned a bachelor’s degree, compared with 14 percent of men. Women were less likely than men at age 23 to be high school dropouts or high school graduates not enrolled in college.
At age 23, labor force status differed substantially by educational attainment. Those with more education were more likely to be employed in civilian jobs and less likely to be unemployed or out of the labor force.
In the October during the year in which they became 23 years of age, among high school graduates who had never enrolled in college, 8 percent of men and 1 percent of women were serving in the military. Among those who had attended some college but had not earned a bachelor’s degree and were no longer enrolled, the percentages were 6 percent were men, compared with 2 percent of women.
These data are from the National Longitudinal Surveys. See "America’s Young Adults at 23: School Enrollment, Training, and Employment Transitions Between Ages 22 and 23" (HTML) (PDF), news release USDL-11-0155, to learn more. These data are from the first 12 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 at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2011/ted_20110214.htm (visited September 21, 2023).