The Census Bureau posted some information about the economic payoff of a college degree on their blog, Random Samplings. A recent report indicated that educational level had a bigger impact than any other demographic factor on lifetime earnings. More education leads to both higher incomes not just because those with more education receive higher salaries, but also because they are more likely to be in full-time jobs. The x-axis here shows the % of people in full-time, year-round jobs:
Not surprisingly, the gap in earnings widens over time, especially for those with a bachelor’s or higher degree compared to those with less:
The report also estimated lifetime earnings by race/ethnicity for men and women separately. As they point out, except for a couple of cases at the very highest educational levels, men from even the most economically disadvantaged racial/ethnic groups out-earn women from the most economically advantaged ones:
Of course, not all college degrees are equal. Dolores R. sent in a link to an interactive table from the Wall Street Journal that lets you look at earnings and the unemployment rate for various majors. I sorted them by median earnings; here are the ten with the lowest median earnings:
The highest unemployment rate? Clinical psychology, at 19.5%.
You can also search by area (art, engineering, etc.), though it looks like the categorization may be a little sketchy — for instance, “geology and earth science” and “liberal arts” show up under the arts.
For more on college majors, earnings, and future career opportunities, see the report College Clusters: Forecasting Demand for High School through College Jobs, 2008-2018, from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce.
Anonymous — November 15, 2011
'Clinical psychology' is not a field of study at the undergraduate level in the way that history, chemical engineering, or geology is. Put simply, a person with a BA in psychology is a clinical psychologist in the same way that a person with a BA in biology is a medical doctor.
So does that mean there's a 19.5% unemployment rate for people with MAs and Ph.Ds in clinical psychology? Or is this survey awkwardly trying to capture the percentage of students with a B.A. in psychology and a professed interest in clinical psychology who remain unemployed? Or something else entirely?
Jirka Lahvicka — November 15, 2011
How did they solve the endogeneity problem? I don't see (for example) any instrumental variables or regression discontinuity design, so is it just another paper that mistakes correlation for causation?
LatentContent — November 15, 2011
teacher education: multiple levels - should be in the other list: top ten earning.
Education and Earning Potentials…Which Majors Have the Lowest Unemployment? « Welcome to the Doctor's Office — November 15, 2011
[...] From Soc Images by Gwen Sharp, [...]
Lunad — November 16, 2011
Anyone else notice that almost all of the bottom earners are traditionally female gendered or "care" professions, while top earners are masculine gendered STEM professions?
LizzBoBizz — November 18, 2011
Let's hear it for the Actuaries!!
Samireann — February 6, 2012
i dont get how they would earn that much in one day in this one webcite.
Just another WordPress site — September 1, 2018
[…] Race, education, and earning potential […]
William — June 2, 2020
The report also tells age income by cast / ethnicity for men and women individually. I am trying for resume editing services now. As they point out, except for gender issues at the highest levels of education, men from even the most economically disadvantaged parts of the world can be admitted to women from the benefits of wealth- economy:
G Nelson — August 13, 2020
There is a strong relationship between education and earning issue for men and women.This website is helping to get video games, on the other hand, this report shows actual statement in sociological effects.
Timothy Banfield — March 11, 2023
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