Graduate Degree Population
The percentage of St. Louis adults over age 25 who have completed a postgraduate degree course of study, such as a Master’s or Ph.D. program
White adults are nearly four times as likely to have a graduate degree than black adults.
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 Graduate Degree Population, a score of 100 — a score reflecting racial equity — would mean white and black residents are equally likely to have a graduate degree. It is important to note that for this indicator, equity is not our only goal: we also want to improve outcomes for all.
What does this indicator measure?
Graduate Degree Population measures the percentage of St. Louis adults over age 25 who have completed a postgraduate degree course of study, such as a Master’s or Ph.D. program. In 2016, there were 33,756 adults in St. Louis with graduate degrees, or 15.4% of the population.
Graduate degree population analysis
Adults age 25 and over with at least one graduate degree in St. Louis City.
|All||White||Black||Disparity Ratio||Equity Score|
|Adults with graduate degrees||33,756||23,563||5,180||-||-|
|Percent of adults with graduate degrees||15.4%||21.7%||5.6%||3.886 to 1||28|
Data Source: American Community Survey 1-year PUMS, 2016.
Data Note: PUMS data may differ slightly from estimates on American FactFinder due to differences in sampling. See PUMS technical documentation for more information. Estimates for Asian residents are based on a small number of sample cases and should be interpreted with extreme caution. The number of sample cases is too small to report reliable estimates for additional racial groups.
What does this analysis mean?
White adults are nearly four times as likely to have a graduate degree as black adults. Asian adults are the most likely to have a graduate degree (34.7%), followed by white adults (21.7%). Black adults are the least likely to have a graduate degree (5.6%). 70% of all adults over 25 with graduate degrees are white, while 49% of the adult population is white. If educational attainment rates were equitable, there would be 14,906 more black residents with graduate degrees.
Why does Graduate Degree Population matter?
Advanced degrees lead to more job opportunities, greater income, and increased professional ability. In particular, graduate credentials such as law degrees and MBAs qualify individuals for leadership positions in organizations. Racial disparities in graduate degrees contribute to the racial disparities in both income and influence. Because of the increased earnings potential that comes with advanced degrees, the equity gap in graduate degrees can further compound other disparities. A graduate degree is a lifelong credential, so the equity gap in graduate degrees will likely contribute to disparities for years to come.
Which Calls to Action from the Ferguson Commission report are linked with this indicator?
The Ferguson Commission issued no calls to action specific to increasing access to graduate degrees. However, increased access to higher education is a recurrent theme in the report, due to the strong and intergenerational relationship between education and overall well-being.
Questions for further investigation
- Why is there 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?
There is little research on racial differences in professional or doctoral degree attainment. However, early research suggests that "black students report a much greater desire to pursue academic post-secondary degrees than others." The National Science Foundation produces an annual "Survey of Earned Doctorates." Its data shows that African-Americans are underrepresented in the population of doctoral degree recipients in the United States.