American young adults are better educated than older generations were at the same age, but they are significantlythan young adults in 1980, according to a new data analysis by the U.S. Census Bureau.
Census researchers found Americans ages 18 to 34 earn $2,000 less per year today than Americans of these ages earned in 1980, after correcting for inflation, though the percentage graduating college has risen from a little more than 15 percent to more than 22 percent since 1980. Young people’s progress varied considerably in different states. In Massachusetts, young adults earn on average $6,500 more than they would have three decades ago, while those in Michigan, Wyoming, and Alaska earn $9,000 less than they did in 1980. Similarly, college graduation rates in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states like Maryland and Virginia have grown by double digits, but have flattened in the Midwest.
A version of this article appeared in the December 10, 2014 edition of Education Week as Student Demographics