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The Census reports on the level of education attained by adults age 25 and older. Our elderly population grew up in a time when education attainment was typically lower, and college attendance was less widespread. As this population is succeeded by younger and increasingly well-educated cohorts, the percent of the population that has attained higher levels of education slowly increases. Not only has the number of diplomas and degrees increased, but their percentage in the population has also increased, indicating a growth in attainment greater than the relative growth in national population.

Educational Attainment in Population 25 Years and Over, 1990-2000
1990 2000
Number Percent of Total Number Percent of Total
Total Population Age 25+ 158,868,436 100.00% 182,211,639 100.00%
Less than 9th grade 16,502,211 10.39% 13,755,477 7.55%
Some high school, no diploma 22,841,507 14.38% 21,960,148 12.05%
High school graduate* 47,642,763 29.99% 52,168,981 28.63%
Some college, no degree 29,779,777 18.74% 38,351,595 21.05%
Associate degree 9,791,925 6.16% 11,512,833 6.32%
Bachelor's degree 20,832,567 13.11% 28,317,792 15.54%
Graduate or professional degree 11,477,686 7.22% 16,144,813 8.86%

* "High school graduate" includes people with the G.E.D. and similar equivalents.

Source: Census 2000 analyzed by the Social Science Data Analysis Network (SSDAN).

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