Racial/Ethnic Inequality in Educational Attainment and Occupational Status

The two tables below show the consequences of racial segregation for educational attainment and occupational status in 1960. The legacy of the "Jim Crow Era" is apparent in the fact that over 90 percent of adult African Americans in 1960 had no more than a high school education. Similarly, minority workers--primarily African Americans--were heavily concentrated in low-paying jobs in farming, service, and blue collar sectors. Data on educational attainment for Hispanic adults were not available for 1960.

These tables also document the improvement in educational and occupational status for African Americans and other minorities during the subsequent two decades. Racial and ethnic inequality declined substantially by the 1980s as a result of desegregation, civil rights legislation, and other social policies that opened up new opportunities for minority students and workers in the U.S.

 
Educational Attainment for Adults 25 Years and Over
 
Elementary
High School
Some College
College Grad
1960
(8 yrs or less)
(1-4 yrs)
(1-3 yrs)
(4 yrs or more)
White
37.6%
45.1%
9.3%
8.1%
Black
60.9%
31.9%
4.1%
3.1%
       
Elementary
High School
Some College
College Grad
1980
(8 yrs or less)
(1-4 yrs)
(1-3 yrs)
(4 yrs or more)
White
16.1%
50.3%
16.0%
17.1%
Black
27.0%
51.1%
13.5%
8.4%
Hispanic
40.2%
40.2%
12.0%
7.6%

 

Elementary
High School
Some College
College Grad
1989
(8 yrs or less)
(1-4 yrs)
(1-3 yrs)
(4 yrs or more)
White
10.7%
49.9%
17.5%
21.8%
Black
17.3%
54.6%
16.3%
11.8%
Hispanic
34.4%
42.6%
13.2%
9.9%
 
Occupation and Race, 1960-1980

The following table presents data from the 2005 American Community Survey, which is based on a large, representative sample of the U.S. Population. This bar graph shows the continuing inequality by race and ethnicity in the U.S. in educational attainment, income, and other measures of social stratification. A brief newspaper article discussing these results is available here in pdf format (Tallahassee Democrat, Nov. 14, 2006, p. 3A).

Racial inequality, 2005

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

 

Source: Statistical Abstract of the United States Index Page