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Sep 4, 2018 at 12:00am ET By Joanna Hughes



Do men or women lead the pack when it comes to higher education and advanced degrees? Women, according to the US Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey. Here’s a closer look at the numbers as well as other key findings, as recently reported by Bloomberg.

Women Gain the Edge.

More than 529,000 white women between the ages between the ages of 18 and 34 earned bachelor's degrees in 2017 compared to just 443,800 white men. Women also came out ahead across all minority groups with 77,500, 75,600, and 94,700 Asian, black and Hispanic women respectively receiving bachelor’s degrees in 2017 compared to 67,200, 60,700, and 74,300 men in the same groups.

The gap was consistent across graduate level degrees, as well. Across all demographics, 302,100 women received master's, professional and doctoral degrees in 2017, compared to 224,300 men.

Other Key Findings

The data for 2017 also indicated other key findings, including the following:

  • Women between the ages of 18 and 24 earned more than two-thirds of all master’s degrees. (In other words, for every 167 women that earned a master’s degree, just 100 men did.)
  • Women between the ages of 18 and 24 obtained approximately three-quarters of all professional degrees and 80 percent of all doctoral degrees.
  • Women between the ages of 25 and 34 hold the majority of PhDs
  • More Asian women than Asian men have master’s or doctoral degrees.
  • Women have held the advantage in terms of master’s degree attainment since 1981.

In addressing the trend, a recent piece in The Atlantic declared men “the new college minority.”

One vice president of student engagement and student affairs of higher education attempt to boost male enrollments, “It didn’t [use] to be that you were worried about providing role models and mentors for males.”

Joanna worked in higher education administration for many years at a leading research institution before becoming a full-time freelance writer. She lives in the beautiful White Mountains region of New Hampshire with her family.

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