The number of Americans enrolled in college (undergraduate and graduate) declined by almost half a million for the second consecutive year in 2013, details the US Census Bureau in a recent data release. Those two years of declines come after a period of expansion between 2006 and 2011 that saw net enrollment levels grow by 3.2 million. The new data indicates that some 19.5 million Americans were enrolled in college last year, equating to 6.5% of the 3+ population.
The detailed tables released with the data provide some interesting insights into the demographics breakdowns of college students, who are estimated to control $163 billion in discretionary spending power.
Following are some key points derived from the data released by the Census Bureau (all figures pertain to combined undergraduate and graduate enrollment).
- The number of female Americans enrolled in college was significantly higher than the number of males (10.9 million versus 8.5 million). That was not only due to higher population figures for females: 7.1% of the 3+ female population was enrolled in college, compared to 5.8% of the 3+ male population.
- 4 in 10 Americans aged 18-24 were enrolled in college in Fall 2013, down from 42% in 2011.
- The number of Hispanics enrolled in college was mostly flat on a year-over-year basis in 2013 after increasing by 1 million between 2007 and 2012. Similarly, enrollment among blacks and Asian-Americans remained relatively flat after growing by 500,000 and 340,000, respectively, during that 5-year period.
- Last year, 16.5% of all college students were Hispanic, up from almost 12% in 2008, but down from 17% in 2012. Non-Hispanic whites comprised 58.2% share of college students, down from 66% in 2008, while the share of college students who were black inched up from 13.3% in 2008 to 14.7% in 2008. Finally, Asian-Americans comprised 8.1% share of college students last year, up from 6.5% share in 2008.
- The share of Hispanics aged 3 and older enrolled in college last year was 6.3%, slightly below the national average of 6.5%. Hispanic females (7.1%) once again had a higher rate of enrollment than males (5.6%). The total number of Hispanics enrolled in college was 3.2 million.
- Black Americans demonstrated higher-than-average college enrollment rates, at 7.4% of the 3+ population – equaling slightly fewer than 8.6 million enrolled. Female black Americans had a substantially higher enrollment rate (8.4% of the 3+ population) than their male counterparts (6.2%).
- Asian Americans had the highest enrollment rates, at 9.9% of the 3+ population overall. Contrary to the population at-large, the enrollment rate was higher among males (10.4%) than females (9.4%). Overall, almost 1.6 million Asian Americans were enrolled in college last year.
- Non-Hispanic whites had the lowest enrollment rates, as 6% of the 3+ group was enrolled in college last year. Females outpaced males (6.6% vs. 5.4%), while a total of 11.35 million were enrolled in college.
- Roughly 84% of college students were aged 18-24 last year. The number of Americans younger aged 21 and younger in college dropped by 261,000 from the previous year, while the number of college-enrolled Americans aged 25 and up fell by 247,000.
Fun fact to end with: there were 10,000 14- or 15-year-olds enrolled in college last year.
See here for the 2012 version of this article.