Higher Education Enrollment Trends by Gender, 1970 to 2025

There has been a sea change in college enrollment when it comes to gender over the past half century. The three graphics below illustrate the percentage distribution of men versus women enrolled as undergraduates (fall) between 1970 and 2025 (estimated). As illustrated in the first chart (left), the gender distribution has flipped over the course of a 55-year period. While men had a 58 percent share of total enrollment in 1970, by 2025 they are estimated to have a 43 percent share with the women’s share reaching 57 percent. The second chart (four-year) and third chart (two-year) show an almost identifcal shape and distribution.

Of a total fall undergraduate enrollment of over 19 million in 2025, women will constitute 10.9 million undergraduates compared to 8.3 million men.

SOURCE: SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Higher Education General Information Survey (HEGIS), “Fall Enrollment in Colleges and Universities” surveys, 1970 through 1985; Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), “Fall Enrollment Survey” (IPEDS-EF:86-99); IPEDS Spring 2001 through Spring 2016, Fall Enrollment component; and Enrollment in Degree-Granting Institutions Projection Model, 2000 through 2026. (Data prepared February 2017)

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