Male H.S. Dropouts Earned More in 1973 Than Female College Grads in 2016

By Terence P. Jeffrey | March 7, 2018 | 11:30 AM EST

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(CNSNews.com) - Males who completed no more than 3 years of high school had a higher real median income in 1973, when Richard Nixon was president, than female college graduates had in 2016, the last full year of Barack Obama’s presidency.

In 1973, according to the Census Bureau’s Historical Income Table P-17, men 25 or older who had completed one to three years of high school had a median income of $41,645 in constant 2016 dollars.

That was the peak year for the median income of male high-school dropouts.

In 2016, according to the Census Bureau’s Historical Income Table P-16, women 25 and older who had earned a bachelor’s degree (but not a graduate degree) had a median income of $41,045 in constant 2016 dollars.

Thus, according to the Census Bureau, in 1973 men who had completed no more than three years of high school had a median income ($41,645) that was $600 more than the median income in 2016 of women who had earned bachelor’s degree but not graduate degrees ($41,045).

Starting in 1991, the Census Bureau made some adjustments to the way it categorized people’s educational attainment in its historical income tables. (“Data after 1990,” says Table P-17, “are not completely comparable due to changes to the educational attainment questions.”)

Table P-16 lists the median income for the post-1990 categories of educational attainment with 2016 being the latest year for which the data is available.

In 2016, men 25 and older who had stayed in school until sometime between the 9th and 12th grade, but who had not earned a high school diploma, had a median income of $23,165 (in constant 2016 dollars).

That was $18,480 (or 44.3 percent) less than the median income men who had finished not more than three years of high school had earned in the peak year of 1973 ($41,645).

Females 25 and older who had stayed in school until sometime between the 9th and 12th grade but did not graduate, had a median income of $13,666 (in constant 2016 dollars) in 2016. That was $32 (or 0.2 percent) less than the median income of females who had not finished more than three years of high school in 1973 ($13,698).

Men 25 and older who were high school graduates or had earned a GED had a median income of $33,516 (in constant 2016 dollars) in 2016. That was $18,804 (or 35.9 percent) less than the 1973 median income of men who had completed four years of high school ($52,320).

Women 25 and older who were high school graduates or had earned a GED had a median income of $19,904 (in constant 2016 dollars) in 2016. That is $728 (or 3.8 percent) more than the 1973 median income of females who had completed four years of high school ($19,176).

Men 25 and older who had earned a bachelor’s degree (but not a graduate degree) had a median income of $63,269 in 2016. That was $4,058 (or 6 percent) less than the 1973 median income for men who had completed four years of college ($67,327).

Women 25 and older who had a bachelor’s degree (but not a graduate degree) had a median income of $41,045 in 2016. That was $11,031 (or 36.8 percent) more than the 1973 median income of women who had completed four years of college ($30,014).

The Census bureau defines “money income” as “the income received on a regular basis (exclusive of certain money receipts such as capital gains and lump-sum payments) before payments for personal income taxes, Social Security, union dues, Medicare deductions, etc. It includes income received from wages, salary, commissions, bonuses, and tips; self-employment income from own nonfarm or farm businesses, including proprietorships and partnerships; interest, dividends, net rental income, royalty income, or income from estates and trusts; Social Security or Railroad Retirement income.”

It also includes welfare, disability, unemployment and other benefit payments.

 


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