Women Now More Likely Than Men to Achieve This Big Life Milestone
Life + Money

Women Now More Likely Than Men to Achieve This Big Life Milestone

REUTERS/Steve Dipaola

For more than 20 years, women have outnumbered men on college campuses.

Now, for the first time ever, the number of women with bachelor’s degrees in the United States is larger than the number of men, according to a new analysis by the U.S. Census Bureau.

In 2014, 30.2 percent of American women held bachelor’s degrees, compared to just 29.9 percent of men.

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The divide varies by state. In Alaska, Mississippi and North Dakota, for example, a greater portion of women than men hold bachelor’s degrees, while men are more likely to have finished college in states like Washington, Idaho and Utah.

Analysts at the Census Bureau expect the broader trend to continue, even though the percentage of men attaining bachelor’s degrees is growing. In the past five years, college attainment among people of both sexes between the ages of 25 and 54 has increased by about the same amount.

Despite their higher educational attainment, a gap in pay between women and men continues to exist, though but demographic trends could change those numbers.

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The pay gap among the youngest workers — a group that includes a higher percentage of college-educated women — is far smaller. An August analysis by economists at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York found that among the country’s youngest workers (ages 22 to 27), women earn roughly 97 cents on the dollar compared to their male peers when controlling for college major and field of employment.