Overall, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) expects the Class of 2013 to total 1,744,000 bachelor’s degree graduates. Women will account for approximately 57 percent of bachelor’s degrees. This continues a trend that started in the early 1980s, the last time men earned more bachelor’s degrees than women.
In addition to the gains women are making, most racial/ethnic groups are gaining ground. Hispanic graduates, in particular, are responsible for much of that growth.
Overall, racial/ethnic minorities account for approximately 29 percent of bachelor’s degrees. That’s up from around 25 percent at the end of the 1990s. (See Figure 1.)
Just as females account for a larger portion of degrees conferred, so too are females driving much of the gains in diversity. For example, the most current data show that African-American females account for 6.5 percent of degrees; their male counterparts, just 3.4 percent. Meanwhile, Hispanic females earned 5.2 percent of bachelor’s degrees, compared to 3.3 percent earned by male Hispanics.
Figure 1: Degrees Conferred by Racial/Ethnic Group, 2009-10 versus 1999-00
Source: 2011 Digest of Education Statistics, Table 300. National Center for Education Statistics. Data are for bachelor’s degree graduates.