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  Chapter Three:

  Educational Attainment
  Female Graduates
  Pupil-Teacher Ratio
  Private School
  College Tuition
  Graduate Education



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Educational Attainment

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High school and college graduates were rarities in 1900. Their numbers rose impressively during the hundred years that followed.
Few American adolescents completed high school in 1900, and only one in fifty finished college. By the end of the century, more than 80 percent of adults had completed high school and a quarter of the adult population had graduated from college. 

The annual number of male college graduates increased more than fivefold from 1946 to 1950, when millions of veterans took advantage of the G.I. Bill of Rights to go to college. Another steep rise was associated with the educational deferments available during the Vietnam War. 

These trends represented a massive upgrading of the nation’s human resources— one that enabled and sustained technological progress, the expansion of knowledge in every field, the continuing shift from blue-collar to white-collar occupations, and the adjustment to an increasingly complex social environment. 

The chart refers to all adults aged twenty-five or older, but the educational attainment of those aged twenty-five to thirty-four was even higher. In 1998, 88 percent of this younger group had graduated from high school, and 28 percent had completed four or more years of college.

Chapter 3 chart 1

Source Notes
Source Abbreviations

SA 1999, tables 265 and 1426.


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