Facts of the Month

US Ranking in Educational Attainment

The United States has always been considered a world leader in educational attainment. However, according to a recently released report from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development ( OECD), that position of leadership may be in jeopardy. The United States still ranks first among the member nations in the proportion of its adult population that is college educated, with 39% of Americans between the ages 25 to 64 having received at least an associate degree, above the OECD average of 26%. However, the higher-education attainment rate for 25- to 34-year-olds in the U.S. has remained nearly constant at 39% for roughly 30 years, while it has increased in other countries. The United States now ranks 10th among the member countries for this age group (down from 7th last year). Unless the U.S. can increase the attainment of this age group, the country likely may face long-term skilled labor shortages and diminished economic capacity as a result.

(Data Source: OECD, "Education at a Glance: OECD Indicators")

Publication Date: October 2007