Back to School, Part II

We’ve all heard or said, “Stay in school” but what is a high school degree really worth? The U.S. Census provides some answers.

The Census reports that in 2009, the median annual earnings¹ for people age 25 years and older without a high school degree was $18,439.

QUESTION:How much higher were the median annual earnings for those with a high school degree, but no postsecondary education?

A. about $2,200 per year
B. almost $5,000 annually
C. $7,700 per year
D. over $350,000 in a lifetime


C and D

In 2009, the median annual earnings of high school graduates over the age of 25 years was $26,140 or $7,708 greater than those without a high school diploma. Over a 45 year working life, that is equivalent to $374,040.

Those with bachelor ‘s degrees had a median income of $47,510.

¹Median earnings of $18,439 simply means that half of the people earned more than $18,439 and half earned less.

Source: Table B20004 U.S. Census American Community Survey 1-year Estimates, 2009.