WASHINGTON (CBS DC) — American women born in the early 1980s – a generation dubbed Millennials – are 33 percent more likely to earn a college degree by the age of 27 than their male peers.
A longitudinal study of 9,000 young Americans conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics finds that 32 percent of women, in comparison to 24 percent of men, had received a bachelor’s degree by the age of 27 – an 8-point, 33.3 percent gender gap. Women with more education held more jobs than women with less, but regardless of education, men held a similar number of jobs.
In 1997, the bureau interviewed 9,000 Americans aged 12-17 years old and born from 1980 to 1984. The latest report shows the group’s 15th round of interviews conducted in 2011 and 2012 to focus on their employment, relationship status and education.
In total, 70 percent of women had either attended some college or received a bachelor’s degree, compared to 61 percent of men. And while higher levels of education linked women to more jobs than those less education, level of education among men made no difference in the number of jobs held. Over two-thirds of the jobs held by high school dropouts from age 18 to 26 were held less than a year and 10 percent were held 2 years or more.
Women were also more likely to finish their college degree than their male peers. Of the 70 percent of women who started college, 46 percent completed their bachelor’s degree by 27. Among men, only 39 percent of the 61 percent who started college completed their bachelor’s degree.
Nine percent of men were high school dropouts compared to 8 percent of women.
Young married men were more likely to be in the labor force than single or co-habiting males, but marital status had no relationship to whether or not young women are working. However, if a young woman has a child living with her she is more likely to be unemployed regardless of her marital status.
Men and women without children were found in the labor force at nearly the same rate, with men at a rate of 79.1 percent and women at 80.6 percent.
Education disparities were also found along racial lines.
While 7.1 percent of white respondents dropped out of high school, 12.4 percent of black 27-year-olds dropped out, and 13.6 percent of Hispanics had done the same.
Respondents who did not finish high school were most likely to be out of the labor market and to have spent the most time not working.