Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Nice graph contrasting educational attainment and employment levels. I also see income inequality, don't you?

It is generally accepted that the mantra "the more you learn, the more you earn" is still valid even in our changing economy. Perhaps more so now.  How much of the increasing income gap in the US can be attributed to the "knowledge gap". The graph below contrasts college graduates (use scale numbers of the left) with high school dropouts(use number scale on the right) and their respective employment levels. These represent the extreme ends of educational attainment, so you have to assume the other levels (HS grad, some college, Associates Degree, Trade School, etc) are somewhere in between.  Notice the relatively constant upward trajectory for college graduates--I see an explicit knowledge gap and an implicit income gap. 
Source: Carpe Diem
In the chart below, look at the income data on the right. While this is just a snapshot of income comparison in one year, I am going to go out on a limb and guess if you take data 15 years before and 3 years after 2009 you will find the same trend---increasing income inequality based on level of education. 
Source: Wikipedia
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