National News Roundup
American men who were eligible for the draft during the Vietnam War completed more years of schooling than they would have had the war not been going on, according to a new report by the U.S. Census Bureau.
The college-enrollment rate for civilian men ages 18 to 24 rose from 24 percent in 1960 to 36 percent in 1969 and then dropped to 27 percent in the mid-1970's, according to the report.
In "Educational Attainment in the United States: March 1981 and 1980," Rosalind R. Bruno maintains that young men had two incentives to enroll in college during the Viet-nam era. "On the one hand, some men had additional incentive to remain in school to maintain their draft deferments," she writes, "while on the other hand, some received additional years of education because of the G.I. Bill."
As a consequence, men born between 1947 and 1951 have an unusually high average level of educational attainment, according to the report. But there is no evidence that men born after 1951 will catch up to the attainment level of their immediate predecessors, who represent the beginning of the post-World War II baby boom, the report adds.
Although the proportion of women college graduates in the population has grown over the years, it has not kept pace with the growth rate for male graduates, according to the report. In 1940, 7 percent of young adult men (25 to 29 years old) were college graduates, compared with 5 percent of young adult women.
By 1959, about twice the proportion of adult men as women were graduates, and throughout the 1970's, the proportion of women6ages 25 to 29 who were college graduates remained at about 20 percent, some 7 percent less than the proportion of college-educated men in that age group.
The report also notes that American education levels in general have risen significantly over the last three decades. More than 70 percent of Americans over the age of 25 had high-school diplomas as of March 1981, up from 56 percent in 1971 and 34 percent in 1950.
For both white and black adults, according to the report, the percentage of high-school graduates is highest in the West and lowest in the South. It adds that "attainment levels (in terms of proportions of persons who completed high school and attended college) have increased proportionately more for blacks than for whites in the past 40 years."
To obtain a copy of the report, send $3.25 to the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C., 20402. Specify report P-20, No. 390, GPO Stock No. 003-001-90789-5.