Globalist Factsheet

Tiered America

When it comes to earning potential, what is the value of an education in the United States?

What's the value of an education?

Takeaways


In the United States, those with higher degrees enjoy a widening pay advantage over those with less education. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, wages have increased for the very well educated — while they have either stagnated or decreased for those with less formal education. We take a closer look at the growing wage discrepancy in the United States.

Those who did not complete secondary education earned an average wage in 2005 of $22,374 and represent a 9.9% share of total employment. Their wages decreased 4.6% from 2000 to 2005.

Those who completed secondary education earned an average wage in 2005 of $31,665 and represent a 29.8% share of total employment. Their wages increased 0.2% from 2000 to 2005.

Those with some college education earned an average salary of $38,009 in 2005 and represent 27.9% of total employment. Their wages decreased 2.5% from 2000 to 2005.

College graduates earned an average wage of $56,740 in 2005 and represent 21.1% of total employment. Their wages decreased 3.1% from 2000 to 2005.

Those holding a master’s degree earned an average wage of $68,302 in 2005 and represent 7.9% of total employment. Their wages decreased 1.8% from 2000 to 2005.

Those with a Ph.D. earned an average wage of $93,593 in 2005 and represent a 1.5% share of total employment. Their wages increased 2.9% from 2000 to 2005.

Those holding an MBA, JD or MD earned an average wage of $119,343 in 2005 and represent a 1.9% share of total employment. Their wages increased 10.6% from 2000 to 2005.

Editor’s note: Adapted from a report published by the Current Population Survey, a joint effort of the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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