FAQ

How does level of education relate to poverty?
Official data breakdown

The Census Bureau reports poverty rates by educational attainment for people aged 25 and older.  In 2014, the overall poverty rate for people aged 25 and older was 12%. 

The poverty rates by work experience for that age group ranged from 5% to 29%.

5% for people with a bachelor’s degree or higher

10%for people with some college but no degree

14% for people with a high school diploma and no college

29% for people with no high school diploma

Another way to think about the relationship between poverty and educational attainment is to look at how the distribution of people in poverty by their level of education compares to that of the population as a whole.

By that measure, in 2014 those who had no high school diploma comprise a far greater share of the population in poverty than their share of the general population and those with a high school diploma and no college comprise are overrepresented to a lesser degree. Those with some college but no degree comprise a somewhat lesser share of the population in poverty than their share of the general population and those with a bachelor’s degree or higher are underrepresented to a much greater degree.

Source:
DeNavas-Walt, Carmen and Bernadette D. Proctor, Income and Poverty in the United States: 2014 U.S. Census Bureau. Current Population Reports P60-252, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC, 2015. (PDF) Accessed 10/19/2015

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