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More Latinos Get College Degrees, But Education Gap Widens

Audio

Aired 2/24/12

Latinos & College

For the first time ever, the number of U.S. adults with bachelor’s degrees has surpassed 30 percent. But new data shows the higher education gap between Latinos and other ethnic groups is getting wider.

In 2001, 11 percent of all U.S. Latinos over the age of 25 had bachelor’s degrees.

By last year, that number had grown to 14 percent.

But that 3 percent growth was smaller than other major ethnic groups, according to recently released data by the U.S. Census Bureau.

The number of African-Americans with bachelor’s degrees grew by more than 4 percent over the last decade, to almost 20 percent. Whites saw a more than 5 percent increase, to 34 percent.

There are many reasons for that gap, including the effects of poverty, language and immigration on education. A 2009 survey by the Pew Hispanic Center found that Latinos born in the U.S. were twice as likely as immigrants to have plans to go to college.

U.S.-born Latinos now account for more of the nation’s Latino population growth than do immigrants.

But the largest share of U.S.-born Latinos are children, with the biggest age group being younger than five.

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