Why does this matter?
Educational attainment is a pathway to increased personal income. Particularly for young adults in Santa Fe’s workforce, data shows that spending even a single year in college increases earnings by 24% on average, and the jump in earnings between an associate degree and a bachelor’s degree is over 42%. Those with a bachelor’s degree on average have an annual income twice as high as those with a high school degree or equivalent. Apart from increasing the standard of living at the individual level, higher familial income is often related to improved outcomes for children and helps strengthen the overall economy.
While education advances economic mobility for individuals and families, what is concerning is the fact that younger adults in Santa Fe have increasingly lower rates of educational attainment when compared to older adults.
Lower educational attainment for younger adults in Santa Fe
Data indicates that 1 in 5 or 20% of adults ages 25 to 34 in Santa Fe do not have a high school degree. 80% of adults ages 25 to 34 are at least high school graduates or equivalent compared to over 90% for adults older than 45. Moreover, only 25% of adults age 25 to 34 have a Bachelor’s degree or higher compared to 45% of adults age 45 to 64. Nationally, 36% of adults in the 25-34 age range have a Bachelor’s degree or higher.
Given the strong relationship between income and education attainment, it is important to help our youth and young adults enter and successfully complete higher education programs. Santa Fe has many great programs to help encourage young adults and undereducated adults looking for skills training to pursue higher education – even for those who may not be on a typical college track or do not have a high school diploma, including the Early College Opportunities (ECO) school (see VISTA blog) and the I-BEST Programs for Health Care and Early Childhood Hood Education that integrate basic education and skills training at the Santa Fe Community College.
For this reason, the graphs in this Data Spotlight include estimated margins of error. In general, when the margins of error from two estimates overlap, the two estimates would not be considered statistically different from one another.