The lowest proportions of the total population who completed a bachelor’s degree or higher were in Mississippi and Arkansas (19 percent each) and West Virginia (17 percent), according to the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS) released Thursday, May 24, 2012.
Among states — including the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico — where the specified race groups and the Hispanic-origin population numbered at least 10,000, attainment of a bachelor’s degree or higher varied, according to survey. The highest proportion of the population aged 25 and over who completed a bachelor’s degree or higher was in the District of Columbia (49 percent). Rounding out the top five were Massachusetts (38 percent), Colorado and Maryland (about 36 percent each), and Connecticut (35 percent).
The information was contained in the latest in a series of short topic-based reports analyzing the ACS statistics. The new brief, “The Population with a Bachelor’s Degree or Higher by Race and Hispanic Origin: 2006-2010,” found that Asians had the highest proportion of bachelor’s degrees or higher among the various groups. link: http://www.census.gov/prod/2012pubs/acsbr10-19.pdf
Almost 9 out of 10 non-Hispanic White alone residents aged 25 years and over in the District of Columbia (87 percent) had received a bachelor’s degree or higher. This proportion far outpaced those in Hawaii and Colorado (about 42 percent each) and Massachusetts and Maryland (about 40 percent each). At the other end of the spectrum, fewer than 1 out of 5 of the non- Hispanic White alone population in West Virginia had received a bachelor’s degree or higher (17 percent).
At least 20 percent of Hispanics aged 25 and over had a bachelor’s degree or higher in multiple areas along the east coast. In the upper Northeast, 26 percent and 20 percent of Hispanics had a bachelor’s degree or higher in New Hampshire and Maine, respectively. In Maryland and Virginia, at least 1 in 5 Hispanics had a bachelor’s degree or higher. In the District of Columbia, over one-third of Hispanics had a bachelor’s degree or higher, which was the highest proportion for Hispanics in the nation. Additionally, 21 percent of Hispanics in Florida and Puerto Rico had a bachelor’s degree or higher.
States where at least one-fifth of the Black alone population aged 25 and over held a bachelor’s degree or higher were primarily concentrated in the Northeast and the West, while most states in the Midwest and the South had proportions with a bachelor’s degree or higher below 20 percent.
Among the states with 10,000 or more American Indian or Alaska Native (AIAN) alone, two had about 20 percent of the population aged 25 and over with a bachelor’s degree or higher — Massachusetts (22 percent) and Maryland (21 percent). Alaska (6 percent) had the lowest proportion of AIAN alone who had a bachelor’s degree or higher.
Nearly one-half of all states with at least 10,000 or more Asian alone had 50 percent or more of the Asian alone population who had received a bachelor’s degree or higher. The District of Columbia had the highest proportion of Asian alone who had received a bachelor’s degree or higher (77 percent).
The ACS report revealed that the Asian alone population category is far from monolithic: Several detailed Asian alone groups had more than 50 percent of their population 25 years and over with at least a bachelor’s degree including Taiwanese (74 percent) and Asian Indians
(71 percent). However, several Southeast Asian groups had proportionally fewer people with a bachelor’s degree or higher than the rate for the U.S. population. These included Vietnamese (26 percent), Cambodian and Hmong (each about 14 percent) and Laotian (12 percent).
Among all groups examined in the brief, Taiwanese and Asian Indians had the highest proportions with a bachelor’s degree or higher. Salvadorans had the lowest percentage with a bachelor’s degree or higher (8 percent).
Methodology: The American Community Survey replaces the “long form” that historically produced demographic, housing and socio-economic estimates for the nation as part of the once-a-decade census. The decennial census program, which includes the American Community Survey and the 2010 Census, along with the U.S. Census Bureau’s population estimates program, serve as the basis for the allocation of more than $400 billion in federal funds to state, local and tribal governments every year. These vital estimates also guide planning in the private sector as well as the work done by policy makers at all levels of government and in communities of all sizes. All survey responses are strictly confidential and protected by law. The collection of this information has been directed by Congress or the federal courts.
Data users need to be aware of differences between the American Community Survey and the decennial census that will impact comparability of the 2006-2010 ACS estimates and 2000 Census long form estimates, as well as the 2010 Census short form. There are differences in the universe, question wording, residence rules, reference periods and the way in which the data are tabulated. The strength of the ACS is in estimating characteristics distributions. We recommend users compare derived measures such as percents, means, medians and rates rather than estimates of population totals.
The 2006-2010 ACS estimates of race, tribal, and Hispanic population group totals are based on a sample of the U.S. population aggregated over a five-year period. These estimates will differ from race, tribal and Hispanic population group totals from 2010 Census data products, which reflect a 100 percent count of the U.S. population as of April 1, 2010.