Race and the Growing Female Advantage in Educational Attainment: A Trend Comparison

Thomas A. DiPrete, Columbia University
Anne McDaniel, Ohio State University
Claudia Buchmann, Ohio State University
Uri Shwed, Columbia University

Using data from the Census and the Current Population Survey, we find that the gender gap in college completion has evolved differently for whites and blacks. The relative (to men) educational position of black women has long been more favorable than that of white women, but the female-favorable educational trends of the past 60 years are far stronger for whites than for blacks. Continuing black female gains are due largely to their relatively higher rates of transition to postsecondary education. White female gains also stem from female favorable trends in four-year college completion, given secondary education. Both black and white males were more likely than females to delay completion of college in earlier years, but this gender difference has diminished. The general trend is for the black gender gap to resemble the white gender gap, even as overall rates of college completion by blacks remain far below those of whites of both genders.

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Presented in Session 58: Access to and the Impact of College Education