The Black Gender Gap in Educational Attainment: Historical Trends and Racial Comparisons

Demography

52 Pages Posted: 9 Mar 2010  

Anne McDaniel

Ohio State University - Department of Sociology

Thomas A. DiPrete

Columbia University - Department of Sociology

Claudia Buchmann

Ohio State University (OSU) - Department of Sociology

Uri Shwed

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev - Department of Sociology and Anthropology; Columbia University

Date Written: January 6, 2010

Abstract

It is often asserted that the gender gap in educational attainment is larger for blacks than whites, but the historical trends that lead up to the current situation have received surprisingly little attention. Analysis of historical data from the U.S. Census IPUMS Samples shows that the gender gap in college completion has evolved differently for whites and blacks. Historically, the female advantage in educational attainment among blacks is linked to more favorable labor market opportunities and stronger incentives for employment for educated black women. Blacks, particularly black males, still lag far behind whites in their rates of college completion, but the striking educational gains of white women have caused the racial patterns of gender differences in college completion rates to grow more similar over time. While some have linked the disadvantaged position of black males to their high risk of incarceration, our estimates suggest that incarceration has a relatively small impact on the black gender gap and the racial gap in college completion rates for males in the U.S.

Keywords: Educational Attainment, African American Education, Gender, College

JEL Classification: I20, J16, J11, N32

Suggested Citation

McDaniel, Anne and DiPrete, Thomas A. and Buchmann, Claudia and Shwed, Uri, The Black Gender Gap in Educational Attainment: Historical Trends and Racial Comparisons (January 6, 2010). Demography . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1567515

Anne McDaniel (Contact Author)

Ohio State University - Department of Sociology ( email )

238 Townshend Hall
1885 Neil Avenue Mall
Columbus, OH OH 43210
United States

Thomas A. DiPrete

Columbia University - Department of Sociology ( email )

New York, NY 10027
United States

Claudia Buchmann

Ohio State University (OSU) - Department of Sociology ( email )

Columbus, OH 43210-1172
United States

Uri Shwed

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev - Department of Sociology and Anthropology ( email )

Be'er Sheva
Israel

Columbia University ( email )

3022 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
United States

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