Blacks and Education: What We Learn

Black Americans have made huge strides in education in the past 50 years.


In 1960, more than 40 percent of adult whites were high-school graduates compared to 23 percent of adult blacks. That’s nearly a 20 percent gap.

Now, black and white high-school graduates are nearly the same—87 percent for whites and 83 percent for blacks.

College Graduates

In 1960, only 3.1 percent of adult black Americans graduated from college. Today that number is nearly 20 percent.

Less than one-third of adult Americans hold a college diploma.

The gap between white and black college-graduation rates remains stubbornly high. The gap increased from 1960 to 1990, declined slightly in 2000 and is now rising again.