Bachelor's Degree Population

The percentage of adults age 25 and over in the City of St. Louis with a bachelor’s degree or higher

Equity Score
Indicator scores are represented on a scale from 1 to 100.
Disparity Ratio
Disparity direction: white-black
Young adults age 18-24 currently enrolled in college or grad school

Among young adults, white residents are 35% more likely to be enrolled in college than black residents.

Source: American Community Survey 1-year PUMS

A score of 100 represents racial equity, meaning there are no racial disparities in outcomes between black and white populations. The lower the Equity Score, the greater the disparity.

For Bachelor's Degree Population, a score of 100 — a score reflecting racial equity — would mean black and white residents are equally likely to have a bachelor’s degree. It is important to note that for this indicator, equity is not our only goal: we also want to improve outcomes for all. 

More Information

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What does this indicator measure?

Bachelor’s Degree Population measures the percentage of adults age 25 and over in the City of St. Louis with a bachelor’s degree or higher. In 2016, there were 76,820 adults with at least a bachelor’s degree, or 35.0% of all adults. 

Bachelor's Degree Population Analysis

Adults over 25 years old with bachelor’s degrees in St. Louis City.

  All White Black Disparity Ratio Equity Score
Adults with bachelor’s degrees 76,820 53,754 15,171 - -
Adult population over 25 219,646 108,454 92,650 - -
Percent of adults with bachelor’s degrees 35.0% 49.6% 16.4% 3.027 to 1 34

Data Source: American Community Survey 1-year PUMS, 2016. 

Data Note: 33,756 adults have graduate degrees in addition to undergraduate degrees; see Graduate Degree Population indicator. PUMS data may differ slightly from estimates on American FactFinder due to differences in sampling. See PUMS technical documentation for more information. Estimates for Hispanic and Asian residents are based on a small number of sample cases and should be interpreted with extreme caution.

What does this analysis mean?

White adults are three times more likely to have a bachelor’s degree than black adults. Asian adults are the most likely to have a college degree (55.2%), followed by white adults (49.6%), and Hispanic adults (37.0%). Black adults are the least likely to have attained a college degree (16.4%). White adults represent 70.0% of all adults with bachelor degrees in St. Louis despite making up 49.3% of the overall adult population.

If educational attainment were equitable, there would be 30,783 more black adults with at least a bachelor’s degree.

Why does Bachelor's Degree Population matter?

Having a college degree generally leads to more job opportunities, greater income, and increased professional ability. The Ferguson Commission report concluded, “college is financially a net positive and beneficial in the long term.” A bachelor’s degree contributes to long-term earnings, so disparities in educational attainment can contribute to disparities in income and employment for years to come. To the extent that parents with greater education have greater means to provide opportunities to their children and more experience around successfully pursuing higher education, disparities in college achievement extend intergenerationally.

Which Calls to Action from the Ferguson Commission report are linked with this indicator?

To increase educational attainment, the Ferguson Commission calls to action include:

Questions for further investigation

  • Why is there a racial disparity in educational attainment? 
  • What can St. Louis do to reduce racial disparities in educational attainment?
  • What initiatives are currently underway to reduce racial disparities in educational attainment?

How can I learn more about this issue?

St. Louis Graduates is a collaborative network of youth-serving college access provider organizations, K-12 education, higher education, philanthropic funders and businesses. St. Louis Graduates seeks to strengthen the system of support for students by:

  • Increasing collective commitment to support low-income students, first-generation students, and students of color to postsecondary degree completion.
  • Advocating for state, federal, and institutional policies that support degree attainment for students who are low income, first generation, and/or students of color.
  • Promoting and encouraging the use of best practices at the high school and postsecondary levels to support access and success across systems in St. Louis.

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