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In Brief

More U.S. Hispanics Earning College Degrees

24 February 2012

A young woman on a college campus holding books (State Dept.)

The number of Hispanics in the United States who hold a bachelor's degree or higher has increased by 80 percent since 2001, according to the Census Bureau. “This is an important milestone in our history,” said Census Bureau Director Robert Groves. “For many people, education is a sure path to a prosperous life.” 

On February 23, the U.S. Census Bureau reported a remarkable statistic. In the years between 2001 and 2011, the number of Hispanics with a bachelor’s degree or higher increased 80 percent, from 2.1 million to 3.8 million.

These numbers don’t surprise Richard Fry, a senior research associate at the Pew Hispanic Center. 

He notes that, while Hispanics still trail behind other ethnic groups in America in the number who have earned college degrees, the number of Hispanics finishing secondary school has increased 68 percent since 2000. The number of Hispanics enrolled in college increased 100 percent in the same time period. “That’s great news,” Fry said. “It’s not just that it’s a growing group, there actually are educational improvements.”

Claudia Valladolid (above), whose parents immigrated from Mexico to San Antonio, Texas, is pursuing a master’s degree in international relations at Syracuse University. “Because my parents saw that I had scholarships that could pay for it and they knew they could help out, they said, ‘You need to go to college.’ My dad always tells us, ‘If the government is willing to help people who want to get educated, then there is no reason for you not to go to college.‘”

““This is an important milestone in our history,” said Census Bureau Director Robert Groves. “For many people, education is a sure path to a prosperous life.”