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Gender Gap: Same Degrees, Different Paychecks

By State of the USA
June 9, 2010

Gender Gap TrendalyzerHow much is a bachelor's degree worth? It may depend on your gender, according to recent data from the National Center for Educational Statistics. Track the percent of young males and females with bachelor's degrees from 1980 to 2008 by selecting the play button on the bottom of the motion chart to the left. Next, compare annual earnings for young males and females with bachelor's degrees or more for the same time period, using the motion chart below.

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Percent of Young Adults with a Bachelor's Degree   Median Annual Earnings of Young Adults, Bachelor's or More

Data Sources:
  • Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplement, U.S. Census Bureau, as reported in Condition of Education Report, National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)
  • Table A-22-1. Percentage of 25- to 29-year-olds who attained selected levels of education, by race/ethnicity and sex (PDF)
  • Table A-17-1. Median annual earnings of full-time, full-year wage and salary workers ages 25–34, by educational attainment, sex, and race/ethnicity (PDF)
  • Data points for 1980, 1985, 1990, 1995, 2000, 2005, and 2008 were featured in the National Center for Education Statistics report. The motion chart generated estimated values for each of the gap years to draw the trend line.
  • Earnings are presented in 2008 constant dollars by means of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) to eliminate inflationary factors and allow for direct comparison across years.
  • The NCES report tracks percent at different levels of attainment only for young adults ages 25-29 with a bachelor's degree.
  • The NCES report tracks the median annual earnings only for young adults ages 25-34 with a bachelor's degree or more.
  • Earnings data are for young adults who worked full-time for a full year.

Staff Contributors: Anthony Calabrese, Michael Corones, Arthur Smith

© 2010 State of the USA.