The number of Ph.D. holders has skyrocketed since 2008

Andrey Kamenov

Andrey Kamenov, Ph.D. Probability and Statistics

It is now general knowledge that the number of college graduates in the U.S. continues to rise. Here we take a deeper look into the educational attainment numbers and how they changed during the last 10 years.

We are using the yearly CPS March Supplement, provided by the U.S. Census Bureau. The data shows that the number of people who didn’t graduate from high school has fallen significantly during the last 10 years, as well as the number of people with only a high school diploma.

At the same time, the number of people with a bachelor’s degree has been growing at a steady rate of just over 1 percent each year (relative to the total population over 18 years growth). Even more rapid growth can be observed for the associate degree holders – though we didn’t make a distinction between people who have dropped out and those who are still in college.

The situation is somewhat more complex for higher degrees. The number of people who have finished their master’s education has been growing at roughly twice the pace of bachelor’s. At the same time, the popularity of the professional education has slightly declined.

Doctoral degree numbers present us with a mixed story. After remaining largely unchanged by 2008, the number of people with the highest level of educational attainment has skyrocketed, growing faster than any other category in this list.

In order to see which states are fueling the growth, we use the ACS Public data microsample, since the estimates from it are more reliable for the smaller states.

As seen on the map, the growth in the number of Ph.D. holders can be observed in every state except Vermont. One of the most impressive numbers is registered in Massachusetts. Despite this state already having one of the highest percentages of doctors, the increase has still been very significant (from 2.1 to 2.4 percent). The same number is now observed in another state from the top of the list, Maryland (up from 2.2 percent in 2007).


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About Andrey Kamenov

Andrey Kamenov

Andrey Kamenov, Ph.D. Probability and Statistics

Andrey Kamenov is a data scientist working for Advameg Inc. His background includes teaching statistics, stochastic processes and financial mathematics in Moscow State University and working for a hedge fund. His academic interests range from statistical data analysis to optimal stopping theory. Andrey also enjoys his hobbies of photography, reading and powerlifting.

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