January 27, 2009
Forty-one percent of young adults were enrolled in college during the October when they were age 21.
Forty-three percent of 21-year-olds had graduated from high school and were not enrolled in college and 2 percent had earned a General Educational Development (GED) credential and were not enrolled in college. Thirteen percent were high school dropouts during the October when they were age 21.
Women were more likely than men to be enrolled in college. During the October when they were age 21, nearly half (46 percent) of women were attending college compared with 36 percent of men. This difference in college-enrollment rates stems from three factors: (1) Women were more likely to have graduated from high school; (2) among high school graduates, women were more likely to attend college; and (3) once enrolled in college, women were less likely than men to leave college between school years.
These data are from the National Longitudinal Surveys. Learn more in "America's Youth at 21: School Enrollment, Training, and Employment Transitions Between Ages 20 and 21" (PDF) (HTML), news release USDL 09-0079. These estimates are based on data collected from respondents who were age 21 in October during the years 2001 to 2006.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, School status at age 21 on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2009/jan/wk4/art02.htm (visited November 28, 2015).
Fifty years of looking at changes in peoples lives
Longitudinal surveys help us understand long-term changes, such as how events that happened when a person was in high school affect labor market success as an adult.