Education

2010 ACS Ranking of College Educational Attainment Nearly Mirrors Median Individual Income

The 2010 American Community Survey (ACS) 1 Year estimates, produced by the U.S. Census Bureau, reveals that the ranking of major race/ethnic population groups by College Degree percentage nearly matches the ranking of Median Individual Income by the same population groups (See Table 1). The mirroring reaffirms the common belief that increasing a person’s education generally increases the individual’s ability to garner higher wages.

However, there are two racial groups that do not match-up in the rankings: Native Hawaiians/Pacific Islanders and those of multiple races (Two or more races). These two racial groups swap places of 2nd and 6th positions in their ranking for college education and income (See Table 1).

Further analysis of a relationship between median individual income and college degree% can be seen by graphing the two socioeconomic variables together. If the two variables are graphed together, the chart distinctly shows a relationship between the median individual income and college degree% for the major race/ethnic population groups (See Figure 1). The Hawaiian or Pacific Islander and Two or More groups were removed as outliers and the remaining population groups are connected to clearly define the relationship. Once the outliers are removed a statistical measurement known as R-squared (used to provide a measurement of how well future outcomes are likely to be predicted by a statistical model) can be determined. The result is a fairly high value of .7526 with 1 being a perfect relationship. Therefore, in statistical terms, approximately seventy-five percent of the variation in the Median Individual Income can be explained by the College Degree percentage which is a relatively high predictability value.

Note: The Census Bureau’s 2010 ACS survey portion on Educational Attainment includes persons above the age of 25 years. It covers five categories of educational attainment: 1) Less than high school diploma; 2) High school graduate (includes equivalency); 3) Some college or associate’s degree; 4) Bachelor’s degree; and 5) Graduate or professional degree. The percent of College degree is calculated by summing the last three categories.

 

Table 1 – 2010 American Community Survey, 1-Year
College Degree% and Median Individual Income by Race/Ethnicity

Race/Ethnicity

College
Degree%

College Degree Rank

Median Individual Income

Median Individual Income Rank

Asian alone, not Hispanic or Latino

69.50%

1

$44,577

1

Two or more races, not Hispanic or Latino

64.60%

2

$26,481

6

White alone, not Hispanic or Latino

61.40%

3

$34,669

3

Some other race alone, not Hispanic or Latino

59.90%

4

$30,332

4

All populations

57.00%

5

$30,085

5

Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander   alone, not Hispanic or Latino

51.30%

6

$37,791

2

Black or African American alone, not Hispanic   or Latino

50.30%

7

$25,462

7

American Indian and Alaska Native alone, not   Hispanic or Latino

48.50%

8

$24,641

8

Hispanic or Latino (of any race)

35.70%

9

$24,282

9

Source: U.S. Bureau of Census ACS 1 Year Estimates, S0201 Select Population Table

 

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