Educational attainment, employment, and unemployment among African Americans

February 25, 2015

In the early 1990s, more than half of employed African Americans age 25 and older had completed no more than a high school education. In 2014, more than three-fifths of employed African Americans had completed at least some college.

 

Percent distribution of employed African Americans age 25 and older, by educational attainment, 1992–2014 annual averages
Year Less than a high school diploma High School graduates, no college Some college or associate degree Bachelor's degree and higher

1992

17.3 38.9 26.8 17.1

1993

15.0 38.8 28.5 17.7

1994

14.2 37.1 29.9 18.8

1995

13.2 36.8 30.9 19.1

1996

13.3 36.4 31.3 19.0

1997

13.3 37.1 30.8 18.8

1998

12.8 36.5 30.8 19.8

1999

11.7 36.3 31.6 20.5

2000

11.7 35.6 31.7 21.1

2001

11.7 35.1 31.9 21.3

2002

11.8 35.0 31.9 21.3

2003

10.8 35.1 31.3 22.7

2004

10.3 35.9 30.5 23.2

2005

10.4 36.0 30.4 23.2

2006

10.3 34.8 30.8 24.2

2007

9.4 34.6 31.1 24.9

2008

9.0 34.2 32.0 24.8

2009

8.4 33.4 32.6 25.7

2010

8.4 32.3 33.2 26.0

2011

7.7 32.8 32.9 26.5

2012

7.4 32.1 32.8 27.7

2013

7.6 31.1 33.0 28.3

2014

7.5 30.8 33.2 28.5

In 2014, 29 percent of employed African Americans had completed at least a bachelor's degree, up from 17 percent in 1992. Another 33 percent in 2014 had completed some college or an associate degree, up from 27 percent in 1992. Among all employed people age 25 or older in 2014, 38 percent had completed at least a bachelor's degree; 28 percent had completed some college or an associate degree.

Unemployment rates of African Americans age 25 and older, by educational attainment, 1992–2014 annual averages
Year Less than a high school diploma High School graduates, no college Some college or associate degree Bachelor's degree and higher

1992

15.3 12.3 9.8 4.4

1993

15.4 10.8 8.7 3.8

1994

13.5 9.9 7.5 3.5

1995

12.4 8.2 6.7 3.2

1996

12.6 9.1 6.4 3.1

1997

13.1 8.1 5.6 3.6

1998

11.6 7.4 5.1 2.9

1999

11.6 6.3 4.4 2.7

2000

10.7 6.4 4.0 2.5

2001

11.8 7.4 5.0 2.7

2002

13.3 8.8 6.7 4.2

2003

13.9 9.3 7.9 4.5

2004

15.5 8.7 7.6 4.3

2005

14.4 8.5 6.9 3.5

2006

12.8 8.0 6.2 2.8

2007

12.0 7.3 5.5 3.0

2008

14.5 9.3 7.4 4.0

2009

21.3 14.0 11.5 7.3

2010

22.5 15.8 12.4 7.9

2011

24.6 15.5 13.1 7.1

2012

20.4 13.4 11.1 6.3

2013

20.5 12.6 9.8 5.7

2014

17.2 10.7 8.9 5.2

From 1992 to 2014, the unemployment rate for African Americans age 25 and older without a high school diploma ranged from about 11 percent to nearly 25 percent. Over the same period, African Americans with at least a bachelor's degree experienced unemployment rates that were sometimes lower than 3 percent and never higher than 8 percent.

Among all people age 25 and older, unemployment rates for those who did not complete high school ranged from 6 percent to nearly 15 percent over the 1992–2014 period. Rates for people with a bachelor's degree or more education were sometimes less than 2 percent and never over 5 percent. (These unemployment rates are averages for entire years.)

These data are from the Current Population Survey. You can find more data in the CPS databases and with other CPS Demographic data

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Educational attainment, employment, and unemployment among African Americans on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2015/educational-attainment-employment-and-unemployment-among-african-americans.htm (visited December 12, 2017).

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