The growing economic clout of the college educated

Matt Zalaznick's picture

Last week’s data released by the Census Bureau vividly demonstrated the growing income inequality in the U.S. But deeper in the data, there’s another related finding that is also striking: The growing income accruing to the nation’s college-educated households.

For the first time on record, households headed by someone with at least a bachelor’s degree received nearly a majority (49.7%) of aggregate U.S. household income; nearly one out of every two dollars went to the college educated. In 2012 one-in-three households was college educated, so, put another way, half of the aggregate U.S. income goes to one third of the households.

In 1991 (the earliest year comparable figures are available) college-educated households only received 37% of the nation’s aggregate income. In 1991 about one-quarter of households (23%) were college educated.

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