FIGURE 6-1 Educational attainment of the population 25 years and over by country of origin (percentage), 2002.

SOURCE: U.S. Census Bureau (2002a).

Despite high educational expectations, Hispanics are among the least educated group in the United States: 11 percent of those over age 25 have earned a bachelor’s degree or higher compared with 17 percent of blacks, 30 percent of whites, and 49 percent of Asian Americans in the same age group (U.S. Census Bureau, 2003).1 Even more troubling, more than one-fourth of Hispanic adults have less than a ninth-grade education (U.S. Census Bureau, 2002b). These numbers represent all Hispanic groups and include recent immigrants. When examined by country of origin, educational attainment for Hispanics varies. As shown in Figure 6-1, Mexican Americans, who are the largest and fastest growing Hispanic subgroup in the United States, have the lowest rates of educational attainment compared with other groups. Cuban Americans report the highest levels of high school completion, and “other Hispanics” report the highest levels of bachelor’s degree attainment. Most data sets do not distinguish among Hispanic subgroups, disregarding important cultural and economic differ-


Mexican Americans constitute the largest proportion of Hispanics in the United States as shown in the 2000 census. The composition of the Hispanic population is as follows: 66 percent Mexican, 15 percent Central and South American, 9 percent Puerto Rican, 6 percent other Hispanic, and 4 percent Cuban (U.S. Census Bureau, 2002b). Reported percentages have been rounded to the nearest whole number.

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