EPI's weekly illustration of education data trends — February 14, 2018

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Percentage of 18- to 24-year-olds enrolled in degree-granting postsecondary institutions, by race/ethnicity, 1976 through 2016


Data from the Census Bureau illustrates that enrollment to postsecondary education in the United States continues to climb for the major race/ethnic groups between 1976 and 2016. During that time, the enrollment gap has also narrowed between White, Black, and Hispanic students (other groups were not included due to large standard errors in the data).

While White, Black, and Hispanic students enrolled at rates of 28, 23, and 20 percent respectfully in 1976, those rates climbed to 42, 39, and 36 percent in 2016. Although the rates climbed over time, the gap in enrollment actually widened to a high of 21 percent in 1999 between White and Hispanic students but narrowed to 3 percent in 2016.

Of course, these data simply document enrollment in higher education. Important considerations include the control and sector of higher education that students enroll in as a measure of equity, which will be documented in future EPIGraphs.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Commerce, Census Bureau, Current Population Survey (CPS), October, 1970 through 2016. (Retrieved February 13, 2018 by EPI)