How Much is Your Degree Worth?

According to the US Census Bureau, a college education almost certainly guarantees a higher income and overall lifetime net worth. American workers with bachelor’s degrees earn almost double those with only a high school diploma. The average college-educated US worker earns $51,206 per year, versus only $27,915 for a high school graduate. Those with college degrees also have higher employment rates than those with less education. Workers with advanced degrees are employed at a rate exceeding 86%. They have better job security, better retirement, and have an easier time finding employment.

Non-high school graduates, on the other hand, have a poor employment outlook. Only 52% of these workers are employed, and they retain an abysmal employment outlook throughout their lifetimes. And, if these workers find employment, their relative earnings never exceeds $25,000 per year. Even more alarming, when these workers become senior citizens, very few of them are working. At age 55, only 38% of high school drop-outs are employed. Contrast this with senior degreed workers, who are employed at a rate of 74%. Educated workers also choose to continue working past retirement age at a higher rate. At age 65, educated workers are employed at a rate of 25-33%, almost double the rate of uneducated workers.

Many of these unskilled workers will have a difficult time supporting themselves in their elder years. With Social Security in danger, the outlook for these employees is grim. In some states, such as Alabama and Louisiana, over half a million senior citizens live below the poverty level. These states also have some of the highest school drop-out rates. In eleven states, one student in every four does not graduate from high school. In Mississippi and Puerto Rico, the dropout rate is even higher, averaging 28%. There is a clear connection between education and prosperity. An education is excellent insurance against financial hardship. With Americans living longer, it pays to invest in a college degree.

Source: US Census Bureau

About the author:

Author: Christine P Silva
Christine P Silva, BA, CRTP, lives with her husband, daughter, and two very spoiled cats in Sacramento, CA. She is a graduate of San Jose State University.You can reach her at her website,