US women better educated than men: Census data

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More US women than men are obtaining advanced degrees, leaving women poised to predominate in the highly skilled medical, legal and academic professions, data released Tuesday show.

Nine percent of young adult American women held either a master's, doctoral or professional degree, such as in medicine or law, compared with six percent of men, and women make up nearly six in 10 holders of advanced degrees, data compiled by the Census Bureau show.

Women also outpaced men in terms of bachelor's degrees, with 35 percent of women aged 25-29 and 27 percent of men obtaining the four-year university degree.

The percentage of US men with bachelor's degrees has held steady since 1999, while the rate for women has grown from 30 percent that year.

The findings held true for white, black and Hispanic women, with only Asian women and men showing no statistical difference in educational attainment.

Asian-Americans also outpaced the other three groups in terms of percentages who hold bachelor's degrees or higher.

More than half - 53 percent - of Asians held a bachelor's degree compared with 33 percent of non-Hispanic whites, 19 percent of blacks and 13 percent of Hispanics.

Overall, nearly nine in 10 Americans hold a high school diploma or higher, and 30 percent have at least a bachelor's degree. The number with a degree from a four-year college climbed by around 15 million in a decade - from 43.8 million in 1999 to 58.6 million in 2009.

Having a master's, doctorate, or professional degree pays, the data show.

Americans with advanced degrees earned just over 83,000 dollars on average in 2008, compared with bachelor's degree holders who earned 58,613 and people whose education stopped with a high school diploma earning around half as much - just over 31,000 dollars.