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 13th (it will be out in January 2020), 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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Thursday, September 6, 2018

Census Bureau Links Income Data to Recent College Grads

Yesterday I blogged about the continued importance of parents in their children's success. There is a very high correlation in every modern society between education and income, so getting the highest level of education you can continues to be an important element of success, no matter who you parents are. There are a lot of reasons to become educated, but obviously higher income is one of them. That is why it is very interesting to see a new project from the U.S. Census Bureau aimed at showing income levels among college graduates a year after they graduate.
The Post-Secondary Employment Outcomes (PSEO) project tabulates earnings by institution, degree level and degree field. PSEO does this by linking university transcript data to the Census Bureau’s Longitudinal Employer Household Dynamics (LEHD) records, which list unemployment-insurance covered quarterly earnings.
Data from PSEO offer an important assessment tool to plan postsecondary education and address a major gap in education statistics by providing a much clearer picture of what happens when a graduate gets a job out of state.
“Up until now, individual states could only measure earnings and employment outcomes for persons who worked in the same state where they were educated,” said John Abowd, chief scientist and associate director for research and methodology at the Census Bureau. “Thanks to this pilot, states, universities and prospective students have the opportunity to see employment outcomes by program of study by region and industry.”
So far the University of Texas system is the only university to have provided the requisite transcript data to the Census Bureau and, as you can see in the graph below, just a year out from graduation, the typical person is making nearly $50,000 per year. Economics majors do the best among the four shown in the graph (and you can see data for other majors by downloading spreadsheets from the PSEO website). There are some obvious limitations to the data, as the Census Bureau clearly points out, but this seems like a very innovative use of data. They promise more results down the road--stay tuned. 

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