BLS Survey Finds Women More likely to Attend College than Men

At age 21, women are more likely to be enrolled in college than men, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported recently. Among 21-year-olds not enrolled in college, men are more likely than women to be employed in a civilian job or serving in the military.

These findings are from the first 10 annual rounds of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997, which is a nationally representative survey of about 9,000 young men and women who were born during the years 1980 to 1984. These respondents were ages 12 to 17 when first interviewed in 1997, and ages 21 to 27 when interviewed for the tenth time in 2006-07. This release focuses on the school enrollment and employment experiences of these individuals from the October when they were age 20 to the October when they were age 21. Respondents were age 20 in October during the years 2000 to 2005 and age 21 in October from 2001 to 2006.

Highlights from the longitudinal survey include:

  • Among 21 year olds, 36 percent of men were enrolled in college compared with 46 percent of women.
  • Of the 20-year-olds enrolled in college, 82 percent were still enrolled when age 21. Non-Hispanic blacks and Hispanics were less likely than whites to continue their college enrollment between ages 20 and 21.
  • Ten percent of male high school graduates who had never enrolled in college were in the Armed Forces during the October when they were age 21, as were six percent of the 21-year-old men who had attended college but were no longer enrolled.
  • Thirty-seven percent of high school dropouts and 19 percent of high school graduates not enrolled in college were neither employed nor in training during the October when they were age 21.
  • Among high school dropouts, 39 percent of non-Hispanic blacks were not employed in either the October when they were age 20 or the October when they were age 21 compared with 24 percent of Hispanics and 19 percent of non-Hispanic whites.
  • High school graduates not enrolled in college were employed an average of 77 percent of the weeks between the October when they were age 20 and the following October. By comparison, those who had dropped out of high school were employed 57 percent of those weeks.
  • By age 21, about one in four young adults who had never gone to college had been employed by the same employer for two or more years since they left school. Five percent had never held a job since they left school.

For complete study data, www.bls.gov/news.release/nlsyth.toc.htm.

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