The College Payoff: Education, Occupations, Lifetime Earnings

The College Payoff: Education, Occupations, Lifetime Earnings

While lifetime earnings can vary among workers with the same educational attainment depending on occupation and demographic characteristics, earning power is increasingly linked to a college degree, a new report from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce finds. The report, The College Payoff: Education, Occupations, Lifetime Earnings (36 pages, PDF), analyzes lifetime earnings for all education levels by occupation, age, race/ethnicity, and gender and finds that those with a bachelor's degree now earn on average 84 percent more over a lifetime than those with only a high school diploma, up from 75 percent in 1999. Moreover, even within the same occupation, those with advanced degrees earn more over the course of a lifetime. Funded by the Lumina and Bill & Melinda Gates foundations, the report also notes that given the current emphasis on postsecondary education and specific occupational training, careers are based more on occupation than on industry.