For the first time since the US Census has collected data around educational attainment and enrollment, in 2011 African-American women’s enrollment in colleges has hit a record high. According to the analysis of the most recent census data, nearly 1 in 10 of every African-American females are enrolled in colleges and universities, suggesting the prohibitive barriers to entry typically associated with women and minorities may be finally eroding in post-secondary settings.
The “enrollment status of the population”— an annual report from the US Census Bureau’s CPS (current population survey) estimates the percentage of a groups educational attainment by age, s*x and racial categories—hit a record 9.7 percent in 2011 for Black Alone and Female metrics, according to the report. This represents a 31 percent increase from 2000 reporting of 7.4 percent.
The average percentage enrollment for the U.S. population is 6.9 percent (6.3 percent for males, 7.5 percent for females.)
The college enrollment rate is one measure of a country, group and individual competitiveness. The rising enrollment rate over the past decade suggests that while factors as the economic downturn, and unemployment and underemployment rates for college graduates remains high 52 percent (Andrew Sum: The Nation’s underemployed in the “Great Recession” of 2007–09,) increasing tuition costs and long-term student debt, most Americans still perceive college attendance as a value-added proposition to becoming competitive . The report shows enrollment for all groups increased 18.9 percent from 2000 to 2011.
The percentage difference between African-American Women and the next closest group is striking and now marks the first time this group (or any other group) has surpassed Asian Males. Black Female College Enrollment at 9.7 percent is a full percentage point above the next group which represents an 11.5 percent enrollment rate above Asian Females. This statistic is equally impressive in that in one year, Black Females and Asian Females surpassed Asian Males as the leading group in College enrollment (U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey: October 2010.)