U.S. Census Bureau

Educational Attainment

Information on educational attainment is collected annually in the American Community Survey (ACS) and the Current Population Survey (CPS).

The ACS reached its full sample size in 2005 and is now the largest household survey of the United States with an annual sample of approximately 3 million addresses. The ACS provides estimates of the nation, as well as states, metropolitan areas, and more specific geographic areas. Tables on educational attainment in the ACS are available through the American FactFinder.

Educational Attainment data in the CPS are reported annually from the Annual Social and Economic Supplement (ASEC, formerly the March Supplement). These data provide national estimates of educational attainment from 1947 to present, with limited detail for states and some metropolitan areas. For additional information on differences between these two data sets, see the links below.

Fact Sheet
Differences between the Educational Attainment Estimates from the American Community Survey and the Annual Social and Economic Supplement to the Current Population Survey
Comparison Report
“Comparison of ACS and ASEC data on Educational Attainment: 2004” report.

Apart from annual estimates, educational attainment information is available from the Decennial Census from 1940 to 2000. The Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) also collects information on educational attainment, as well as related topics such as field of degree. The Census Bureau also collects data on school enrollment from several surveys. Links to these related topics are provided below.

Current Population Survey

Definitions and Explanations

  1. CPS 2007

  2. CPS 2006

  3. CPS 2005

  4. CPS 2004

  5. CPS 2003

  6. CPS 2002

  7. CPS 2001

  8. CPS 2000 through 1998

  9. CPS March 2000

  10. CPS March 1999

  11. Historical Reports from 1940 to 1998

Historical Tables

Current Population Survey

Decennial Census

Other Reports

Working Papers

Data Availability

March Current Population Survey (CPS) data on Educational Attainment are available from 1968 to present as CD-ROMs or as Magnetic Tape Reels or Cartridges. Please see the Census Product Catalog for more information on this and previous publications.

Related topics:

For Further Information

Contact: The Education and Social Stratification Branch, U.S. Census Bureau, 301-763-2464.

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