RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Women are now more likely than men to graduate from college.
New survey results from the Pew Research Center also found college graduates have lower unemployment rates than those without a degree — and that gap got wider during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The earnings gap between young college graduates and those who don’t have degrees also continued to widen, the survey results found.
The survey found 39 percent of women ages 25 and older had at least a bachelor’s degree, compared to 37 percent of men. And that gap is even wider among adults between the ages 25 and 34, with 46 percent of women and just 36 percent of men having earned degrees.
And those with degrees more often tend to have jobs: The unemployment rate has nearly returned to pre-pandemic levels for college graduates at 2 percent — it was at 1.9 percent in February 2020, just before the COVID-19 outbreak started.
That rate is twice as high for those with only a high school diploma.
That led to an earnings gap that has also continued to grow, especially for young adults.
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data show full-time workers between the ages of 22 to 27 with a bachelor’s degree had a median income of $52,000, compared to $30,000 for those workers with a high school diploma but no degree.
That gap has gotten bigger: They’re separated by $22,000 now, but were separated by about $13,000 in 1990, Pew found.
Among the organization’s other findings, recent college graduates are more likely than all grads to be underemployed — or, holding jobs that do not require a college degree, a data analysis found.
As of last December, 41 percent of college graduates between the ages of 22 and 27 were underemployed — much higher than the 34 percent underemployment rate for all graduates.
That rate went up in 2020 when the pandemic put the job market under extreme strain, but it has returned to pre-pandemic levels, Pew found.