This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 12th (it came out in 2015), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

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Friday, September 9, 2011

Is College Worth it? You Bet It Is!

Every now and then someone comes along to suggest that maybe a college education really isn't important any more. Beyond the genuine improvement in one's understanding of how the world works, a college education is, in fact, a good financial investment. These are the clear findings of a study just released by the US Census Bureau. The authors, Tiffany Julian and Robert Kominski, use data from the American Community Survey to show that "education levels had more effect on earnings over a 40-year span in the workforce than any other demographic factor, such as gender, race and Hispanic origin." Mikoto Rich at the New York Times picked up on the story and added these comments regarding the persistent gender bias in earnings:

Among full-time, year-round workers, white men with professional degrees make nearly 49 percent more in lifetime earnings than white women with a comparable education level. The gender gap is narrower for blacks with professional degrees: black men with professional degrees earn 24 percent more in lifetime earnings than their female counterparts.
That gap is still pronounced at the bachelor’s degree level, where white men working full time and year round earn 40 percent more than white women with the same level of education. Black men with bachelor’s degrees earn 13 percent more than black women who also hold bachelor’s degrees.
Hispanic women appeared at the biggest disadvantage. Among those full-time, year-round workers with professional degrees, white men make 104 percent more than Hispanic women over their working lifetimes.
So, the lessons here are (1) no matter who you are, a college education is going to improve your lifetime earning power; but (2) we still have a ways to go in leveling the income playing field for women.

1 comment:

  1. what is the reason for women making so much less? Is it due to some taking time off for kids? I am curious what the results would be if they used women who worked noon-stop without taking time off. Also, I think part of the reason is because many women are not as aggressive when it comes to asking for a raise.

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