Majority Of American Workers Do Not Have A College Degree

Higher education is a big business in the U.S. Every year millions of students graduate from schools across the country with billions of dollars in student loan debt. Tuition at both public and private universities and colleges have increased year after year with demand for getting a degree going only higher.

In an article a few years ago I wrote about some of the reasons for the ever increasing college tuition in the U.S. One of the main reason for the craze to get a degree is that employers are increasingly demanding a degree even for a job that requires just English reading and writing skills. The most basic of a job function such as secretary for the front office requires a college as if a degree is needed to take phone calls, take notes, making hotel reservations, decorate office buildings with balloons for a party, etc.

Though a college degree has become mandatory to get any decent job, that rule seems to apply only to new workers joining the workforce in the past couple of decades. Many of the workers that already in the work force do not have a degree. In fact, according to a study by EPI more than two-thirds of American workers do not have a college degree.

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US Workers College Degree By State

From the EPI report:

Almost two-thirds of people in the labor force (65.1 percent) do not have a college degree. In fact, people without a college degree (which includes those without a high school degree, with a high school degree, some college education, and an associates’ degrees) make up the majority of the labor force in every state but the District of Columbia. Mississippi has the highest share of non-college educated workers (75.7 percent) while Massachusetts and the District of Columbia have the lowest shares (51 percent and 33.7 percent, respectively).

While this two-thirds figure looks surprising college degree was not needed to get a job many decades ago. In fact, going to college was a privilege and not a right and few bothered to get a degree as it was demanded by companies. Millions of workers led a comfortable middle-class life working in auto factories, appliance factories, etc. without needing a degree. Many of those older workers are still in the labor today waiting to retire. In the future, getting a degree would be the equivalent of getting a high school diploma.

Source: Almost two-thirds of people in the labor force do not have a college degree, EPI, Mar 30, 2016

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