Breaking down data by racial and ethnic groups, such as White, Black, Hispanic, and Asian, can provide a better understanding of education performance and outcomes than just looking at overall outcomes. But these broad racial/ethnic groupings can still be large enough to hide important information and nuances about student performance and outcomes.
A recent NCES report, Status and Trends in the Education of Racial and Ethnic Groups 2018, examines current conditions and changes over time in education activities and outcomes for members of racial and ethnic groups in the United States. The report also uses data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey to examine outcomes for U.S. and foreign-born individuals who identify with specific Hispanic and Asian ancestry subgroups (e.g., Mexican, Puerto Rican, Chinese, Asian Indian). For example, although 11 percent of Asian children under age 18 were living in poverty in 2016, the child poverty rate differed by more than 30 percentage points across the selected Asian subgroups—ranging from 6 percent each for Asian Indian, Filipino, and Japanese children to 37 percent for Bangladeshi children.
These differences among subgroups were seen in other measures as well, including college participation and attainment.
COLLEGE PARTICIPATION RATES
The College Participation Rates indicator shows the total college enrollment rate, meaning the percentage of 18- to 24-year-olds enrolled in 2- or 4-year colleges and universities.
- In 2016, the Hispanic average college enrollment rate was 36 percent. However, among Hispanic subgroups, the average college enrollment rate ranged from 27 percent for Honduran 18- to 24-year-olds to 64 percent for Chilean 18- to 24-year-olds. (See figure 1 below.)
- In 2016, the Asian average college enrollment rate was 67 percent. However, among Asian subgroups, the average college enrollment rate ranged from 23 percent for Burmese 18- to 24-year-olds to 78 percent for Chinese 18- to 24-year-olds.
ATTAINMENT OF A BACHELOR’S OR HIGHER DEGREE
The Attainment of a Bachelor’s or Higher Degree indicator shows the percentage of adults (25 or older) who earned at least a bachelor’s degree.
- In 2016, about 15 percent of Hispanic adults had earned a bachelor’s or higher degree. However, among Hispanic subgroups, the percentage ranged from 9 percent for Salvadoran and Guatemalan adults to 55 percent for Venezuelan adults.
- In 2016, about 54 percent of Asian adults had earned a bachelor’s or higher degree. However, among Asian subgroups, the percentage ranged from 10 percent for Bhutanese adults to 74 percent for Asian Indian adults. (See figure 2 below.)
This report also presents information about Hispanic and Asian subgroups on topics including nativity, children’s living arrangements, children living in poverty, and high school status dropout rates.
Looking for more information about different racial/ethnic populations on topics spanning from early childcare and education arrangements to earnings and employment as an adult? Check out the full Status and Trends in the Education of Racial and Ethnic Groups 2018 report!
By Sidney Wilkinson-Flicker
 If the number of individuals in a subgroup is too small, the data may not be presented for privacy reasons. Additionally, a small sample size can mean that an apparent difference between two groups is not statistically significant.