Tuesday , 21 May 2024

Higher Education = Higher Average Household Income BUT the Cost of That Education Has Soared

Advanced educational attainment correlates with higher household incomes but the cost of that education has soared.

This post by Lorimer Wilson, Managing Editor of munKNEE.com, is an edited ([ ]) and abridged (…) version of an article byJill Mislinski for the sake of clarity and length to ensure a fast and easy read.

…The chart below of the median income for all households with a householder age 25 and older by educational attainment was $69.2 in 2020.

A particularly notable feature in the chart above is that the Bachelor’s Degree median at $100.1K is more than double the High School grad’s $47.4K. A Master’s Degree increases the Bachelor’s median by $14.8K. A Professional Degree (Law and Medical being the major ones) adds $51.5K.

Here is the same chart, this time illustrating the Mean (average) household incomes for the same cohorts.

For a better sense of the mean skew, here is a side-by-side comparison of the median and mean. As we would expect, the mean is larger than the median for all cohorts.

The educational attainment of householders has clearly increased over the time frame of the Census Bureau’s annual data. The current survey questionnaire dates from 1991. Here is a pair of pie charts that highlight the difference in the cohort percentages in 1991 versus the present.

Here is the same visualization of the year-over-year comparison.

The column chart below gives us a clearer comparison of the individual cohorts. For example, we see that about 22% of householders had less than a High School degree in 1991. That number has been cut by more than half. Associates, Bachelor’s, and Master’s degree holders have almost doubled. Professional degrees have mostly stayed the same while Doctorates have also doubled.

Educational attainment has clearly advanced over the time frame of this Census Bureau series, and the income benefits are obvious. Of course, the cost of post-High School education is substantial. Here is a snapshot of inflation comparisons since 1991.

Some Price Comparisons

Advanced educational attainment correlates with higher household incomes but the cost of that education has soared.

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One comment

  1. Don’t believe everything you read. At age 70, with a bachelor’s degree, I have yet to earn $50K in one year. I pursued careers in church music and adjunct community college teaching. My income is supposedly in the lowest third of America, but in the highest third of the world.