Educational Degree Attainment and Unemployment of US Asian Population

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NewsData from the Current Population Survey, a monthly study undertaken by the United States Census Bureau, indicate that the nation’s Asian population, aged 25 and older, had both a higher level of educational attainment and a lower level of unemployment than the combined rates of non-Asian groups. For the period from 2008 to 2010, the percentage of non-Asians holding a Bachelor’s degree or higher was approximately 28.7 percent. Of all Asian groups, only the Vietnamese had comparable numbers. The top achieving Asian groups were Asian Indians (75 percent), Koreans (56.3 percent), and Chinese (53.7 percent); closely followed by Filipinos, Japanese, and other Asian groups. Asian Indians and Chinese had an average of 10 percent of their populations having attained a professional or doctoral degree.

While unemployment rates were typically higher for subgroups with little education, variation in unemployment was substantially greater for non-Asian groups. For the three year period from 2008 to 2010, 13 percent of non-Asians without a high school diploma were unemployed as opposed to 3.9 percent of individuals with an undergraduate degree or higher. These numbers are contrasted by Chinese Americans (5.5 percent to 4.2 percent unemployment), Asian Indian Americans (9.4 percent to 5.1 percent unemployment), Koreans (7.5 percent to 5.3 percent unemployment), and Vietnamese (7.8 percent to 5.3 percent unemployment). The data indicate that, on average, Asian groups have a lower unemployment rate of uneducated individuals, but a higher unemployment rate for college educated individuals compared to non-Asians.

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