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This has been repeated so often that it would hardly seem necessary now: the greatest gains in income over the last 30 years have been by those who’ve got more than a high school education and those without high school educations have actually lost ground. Consider the chart above. It should come as a surprise to nobody that people with college degrees or post-graduate degrees on average make more than those with high school diplomas only.
However, the thing to look at is the slopes of those lines. The disparity is getting larger rather than than staying the same. Unfortunately, young people, particularly young men, aren’t seeking college or advanced degrees in sufficient numbers.
I do feel the need to register some skepticism about the overall significance of post-graduate education. I think that the very high earnings that can be attributed to some of those with post-graduate degrees notably physicians and MBAs or even the extremely high earnings of a small subset within those obtaining post-graduate degrees, e.g. attorneys, skews the entire result.
I don’t believe that alters the basic conclusion: if you expect to get ahead, you’ll need a college degree or better.
Next post: Baby Boomers Have Higher Incomes