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Chicago Fed Letter, No. 237, April 2007
The Changing Value of Education
In the 1980s, education was an increasingly worthwhile investment. According to data from the Current Population Survey (CPS), in 1979, men and women with a bachelor’s degree or higher earned $30,507 per year, 77% more than the $17,283 per year earned by workers with only a high school diploma. By 1989, annual earnings of those with a college degree had risen to $37,288, nearly double the $18,952 earned by high school graduates. Similarly, high school graduates earned 47% more per year, on average, than high school dropouts in 1979 ($17,283 versus $11,737), and high school graduates earned 80% more than high school dropouts in 1989 ($18,952 versus $10,522).


Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, 230 South LaSalle Street, Chicago, Illinois 60604-1413, USA. Tel. (312) 322-5322

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