|Quartile groups for bachelor's
degrees conferred per 1,000 1824-year-olds: 2000*
|(104.5 - 55.9)
||(55.6 - 48.4)
||(48.4 - 39.8)
||(38.9 - 22.6)
|District of Columbia
|*States in alphabetical order, not data order.
SOURCES: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Integrated Postsecondary
Education Data System; and U.S. Bureau of the Census, Population
Division. See table
- In 2000, 1.24 million bachelor's degrees were conferred in all fields, up
from 1.05 million in 1990.
- This increase across the United States in 2000 translates to about 46 bachelor's
degrees per 1,000 18–24-year-olds, ranging from about 23 to 85 across states;
the District of Columbia exceeded 104 (an outlier reflecting special characteristics).
- Over the decade, the number of bachelor's degrees awarded in the United
States increased relative to the 18–24-year-old population, rising from 39
in 1990 to 46 by mid-decade, similar to the 2000 level.
- The pattern for states in the top two quartiles is similar to those for
mathematics and science performance of eighth graders.
Earning a bachelor's degree gives people a greater opportunity to work in higher
paying jobs than is generally available to people with less education; it also
prepares them for advanced education. The ratio of bachelor's degrees awarded
to a state's 18–24-year-old population is a broad measure of a state's relative
success in producing degrees at this level. The 18–24-year-old cohort was chosen
to approximate the age range of most people pursuing an undergraduate degree.
A high value of this indicator may suggest the successful provision of educational
opportunity at this level. The value may also be high when a higher education
system draws many out-of-state students, which may particularly affect the results
for some sparsely populated states and the District of Columbia.