For the First Time, More Women have College Degrees than Men

Thursday, October 15, 2015
(photo: Richard Drew, AP)

More women than men have college degrees in the United States for the first time, according to figures from the U.S. Census Bureau.


As of last year, 32% of American women possessed bachelor’s degree or higher. This was slightly higher than the rate for men, 31.9%.


Quartz noted that women may have moved beyond gender parity in undergraduate degrees because more of them value a college education than men. “A 2011 Pew study found that 50% of women who had graduated from a four-year college or university thought their education was a good investment, while only 37% of men thought so,” Kate Groetzinger wrote at Quartz.


More women have been attending college since the 1960s, gradually closing a higher education gender gap. Fifty-five years ago, there were 1.6 male undergraduates for every female undergraduate. By 2000, the ratio had flipped completely: there were 1.3 female undergraduates for every male undergraduate.


One reason more women are college graduates is that more of them are prepared to succeed in college. High school girls tend to study more and are less likely to be disciplined in school than their male counterparts, according to a study (pdf) by economists Claudia Goldin, Lawrence F. Katz, and Ilyana Kuziemko.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

For the First Time in History, a Bigger Share of American Women than Men have College Degrees (Kate Groetzinger, Quartz)

For the First Time Ever, More American Women than Men are College Graduates (by Libby Nelson, Vox)

Educational Attainment in the United States: 2014 (United States Census)

The Homecoming of American College Women: The Reversal of the College Gender Gap (by Claudia Goldin, Lawrence F. Katz, and Ilyana Kuziemko, National Bureau of Economic Research (pdf)

77% of Richest Students Earn a College Degree Compared to 9% of Poorest Students (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

Salaries of Female College Grads Stop Growing at Age 39; Males at 48 (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)


Silvia 1 year ago
There's still a way to go. Women are naturally more smarter than men. We've only seen the recent increase after woman began liberating ourselves. As we become more and more liberated we will get more and more degrees. In 100 years from now the ration of women to men getting college degrees will be about 90% and 10% respectively. What we should do is start teaching boys and men on how to accept this. I don't want this to be about a war. They need to gradually accept their place in the new society that will emerge.

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