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EPI's weekly illustration of education data trends — October 21, 2016

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Median Earnings by Educational Attainment, 2007 and 2015


In the eight years from 2007 to 2015, median earnings for workers dropped 3.7 percent after adjusting for inflation. When we categorize by level of educational attainment, every level lost ground during this period. While individuals with les than a bachelor's degree fared slightly worse than those with a BA or higher, even the BA and graduate level degrees lost at least 4 percent of their earnings.

As illustrated, the median earnings of individuals with higher degrees do outpace those with lesser or no degrees. In 2015, the median earnings for someone with a graduate degree was $64,661, compared to $50,476 for those with a BA, $34,989 for those with an AA or some college, and $29,406 for those with only a high school degree. Thus, those with an advanced degree earned over double that of those with a high school diploma or GED.

Always important to mention is that these are median values. There are those who earn less or more in each category. Also important to note is that people with higher levels of degrees have, over time, supplanted other workers and are actually doing jobs that people with less training and levels of education could actually do. So the lessening of earnings of those on the lower rungs of educational attainment are accentuated by the number of jobs that have moved up the chain of education.


SOURCE: Brookings: Middle Skilled Workers Still Making Up for Lost Ground on Earnings, using American Community Survey findings.