Figures & Tables
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Higher earnings are one of the important outcomes of higher education. Average earnings for adults increase with years of education and particularly with degree completion.
Other Economic Benefits
Adults with college degrees are more likely than others to receive health and pension benefits with their jobs. They are less likely to be unemployed or to rely on public income support payments.
Behaviors such as smoking, exercise, obesity and breast-feeding that affect health are highly correlated with education levels.
Other Individual & Societal Benefits
College-educated adults have higher rates of voting and volunteering than others. They also engage more frequently in educational activities with their children.
Individuals who grow up in lower-income families or with parents who did not attend college are less likely than others to enroll in college. The distribution of students across types of institutions differs by race/ethnicity and socioeconomic status.
Different enrollment patterns and different completion rates for students who do enroll lead to very different levels of educational attainment by race/ethnicity and family background.
National averages for educational attainment hide large differences across states. Educational outcomes in some other countries are improving relative to those in the United States over time.