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Last modified: Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Report: More women than men are earning college degrees in Indiana

Nov. 25, 2008

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- According to a report produced by the Indiana Business Research Center at Indiana University's Kelley School of Business, more women than men are earning college degrees, a result of the increased opportunities for women in recent decades.

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Researcher Rachel Justis, writing in the latest issue of InContext, points to educational attainment data from the U.S. Census Bureau, which shows that more women under the age of 45 -- at both the state and national level -- have earned a bachelor's degree or higher when compared to men.

"For women, the younger the age group, the higher the educational attainment -- not surprising given the shift in women's working habits over the past several decades," Justis said.

Among Hoosiers over age 25, nearly 23 percent of men in Indiana today have a bachelor's degree or higher, compared to just over 21 percent of women. However, Justis noted, this is due to the large male advantage in the oldest age group, age 65 and older.

"When looking at the 35-to-44 age group, 25.7 percent of Hoosier women have a bachelor's degree or higher as opposed to just 22.8 percent of men," Justis said. "We see an even larger gap in the 25-to-34 age group, where 28.1 percent of women have a bachelor's degree or more, compared to 23.4 percent of men.

"One might expect a similar pattern to hold for men, given the increasing importance of higher education in the job market," she said. "However, it is the men of the baby boom who have the highest percentage with a bachelor's degree or higher."

Justis was unable to discern why the percentage for men has stagnated.

"It is worth mentioning that the attainment gap between men in the 45-to-64 age group and those in the 25-to-34 age group is not statistically significant, so we cannot conclude -- with reasonable certainty -- that the difference between the two is due to anything other than chance," she said.

Indiana lags behind the nation in educational attainment in all categories.

Also in the latest issue of INContext are reports about per capita personal income in the state and the Kokomo metro area, and a discussion of the American Community Survey and its value in demographic research. It is available online at

Established in 1925, the IBRC is an information outreach service of the Kelley School. It provides and interprets economic, demographic and social information needed by business, government, educational and other nonprofit organizations, and individual data users in the state and throughout the nation. Its research can be found online at