Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Research Paper on Education

Research Paper on Education

The higher level of education one has received, the lower the chance the lower chance that person has of falling into poverty.

The importance of receiving an education has become increasingly important. Many jobs today require many technical skills that must be learned from receiving post high school education. As American society advances into a highly technological one, the need for jobs that require little education grows slim whereas the need for people with highly developed skills becomes more important than ever on today’s job market. One source even stated that by the year 2005, every six out of ten jobs would require a college degree.

This problem is not new though, education has been important. For many years, education has been an important factor in obtaining a high paying job and avoiding unemployment (especially since the development of computers and other higher levels of technology). Research has shown that people who have not graduated from high school have a much higher unemployment rate than those who do graduate and also have a much greater chance of falling into poverty. Age is also a factor in the chance one has of being in poverty with different levels of education.

In this research paper, these factors will be reported and analyzed using official statistics. These statistics are mainly from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Current Population Survey (CPS). The statistics show many factors relating to education, poverty, and unemployment.


The next few sections will contain many charts, tables, graphs, and comments on the data.

It’s common sense that if one receives a high level of education, that persons chances of being unemployed are slim. Also, it is common sense that if someone does not finish high school, that person will have difficulty finding a job.

Unemployment rates for people who do not finish high school are significantly higher than the rates for those who do.

Unemployment rates of persons 25 years old and over, by highest level of education: 2000

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Office of Employment and Unemployment Statistics, Current Population Survey, 2000.

As this graph shows, as higher levels of education are achieved, the lower the percentage of unemployment gets. The most significant drop is from not graduating high school to being a high school graduate.

Unemployment may be so high for those who do not receive a high school degree because of the job market today. Technology grows much more advanced every year and require people with high technical skills, or at least some technical skills, to operate them.

It is evident that someone who receives a Master’s degree will make much more money than someone who does not finish high school. In 1999 the median income of a male without a high school diploma was around $20,000 while for a female it was a little over $10,000. This same gender difference remains even with higher levels of education. This brings about another problem: Why do females make less money than males?

This table illustrates the gender difference in income along with levels of education.

Median annual income of persons with income 25 years old and over, by highest level of education and sex: 1999

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, Current Population Reports, Series P-60, "Money Income in the United States: 1999."

As shown, men make a significantly larger amount of money than women do. This all ties in with the poverty rates of women. In 1999, the percentage of women under the poverty level without a high school diploma (ages 25-34) was 40.9%. For ages 34-54 it was 27.6%, and after that it remained at about 20%. For men though, the percentage of men under the poverty level of ages 25-34 was 24.5%. Men of ages 34-54 who were below the poverty level was 18.5%, and it sunk to about 12% for ages 75 and over.

What could be the cause of this? A possible cause is that there are many physically demanding jobs that require little education. For this type of work, men may be preferred.

Poverty Statistics on Education and Gender
In 2001 the average poverty threshold for one person was $9,039, for two people it was $11,569 and it escalated from then on. When looking at median incomes for people based on gender and level of education, it is easy to see how many people are in or at least close to poverty. That only includes the people that are employed. The combination of unemployment and income rates of those who are employed (based on levels of education) truly makes the need for a good education evident if one wishes to stay out of poverty.

From about 1994 to the year 2000, the poverty rate in America was dropping at a good rate, but the poverty rates among those who did not finish high school remained nearly the same throughout that time period. This may be because there were really no advances or developments in jobs that required little education, yet there were many new jobs that required a college degree that came about.

The next charts illustrate the poverty levels based on the level of education.

These charts display poverty and education levels from the year 1994 and the year 2001. The average of all people (ages 25 and older) who were below the poverty level has remained about the same. This is also seen in each level besides not receiving a diploma.

The only dramatic changes in the percentage of those below the poverty level occurred in females without a high school diploma. Over this period, the difference in the number of men and women in poverty became narrower. The average, though, of both sexes within poverty without a high school diploma has remained about the same. This shows how education has been and will remain important.

Poverty by Age and Level of Education
What main differences are there between age groups, levels of education, and poverty? Well, there are actually quite a few differences. First of all, the highest percentage of those in poverty is within the 25-34 year old age group. This trend continues throughout each level of education as well. This may be because the person has not been in the job market for a long time and finding a job may be tough.

The next few graphs illustrate percentages of those in poverty in terms of different age groups (both sexes are taken into account).

Just as in the previous groups with averages of the age groups between men and women, there was a dramatic drop in the percentage of those in poverty without high school diplomas from 1994 to 2001. This drop, though, was mainly the result of the percentage of women in poverty dropping (In 2001 the average percent of women over 25 in poverty was 26.5% but in 1994 it was 30.5%). The percentage of men, in that period, who were in poverty remained about the same though.

Poverty by Race and Level of Education
There are so many factors that affect the percentages and statistics of how many people are in poverty. Race is one of those factors. From researching statistics, one can easily see some relation between a persons race, level of education, and percent of people of that race that are below the poverty level. The next few charts will illustrate this (both sexes are taken into account). Note that Hispanics can be of any race.

It’s hard to ignore the dramatic difference between the percent of people in poverty who are white and those who are black. Even though the amount of people in poverty had dropped since 1994, the differences between white and black still were very distinct.

Why is there such a difference though? It may be because of the inequality and prejudice that still exists in our country today. There is a good side to this though, which is that the percentages between 1994 and 2001 did make a big drop and the differences between white and black (in terms of poverty) are becoming narrower.

This data clearly shows the problem of poverty in terms of a person’s education. Even though throughout the years between 1994 and 2001 there was actually a drop in the percentages of those people without diplomas in poverty, it does not necessarily mean that there are a large number of jobs becoming available to people with low levels of education. In that time period, America had one of its best and longest periods of economic growth. Not until March of 2001 did the United States start experiencing another recession.

The statistics also make inequality a distinct problem. Society says that people should be equal, but the differences between the races and sexes are just too hard to ignore. The percent of white males, without high school diplomas, in poverty in 2001 was 16.4% while for black women it was 38.8%. Even though the job market for people without high school diplomas is tough, these differences are too dramatic to ignore and help to somewhat illustrate inequality in America.

Overall, the data clearly supports the hypothesis. Just that jump from not having a high school diploma to having one is a dramatic drop in the percent of those in poverty. If a person’s education is taken to the college level, that person is very unlikely to fall into poverty.

In all the years to come the country will keep becoming more and more advanced, especially in terms of technology. Who will be the people building and maintaining these new machines and objects though? The people with higher levels of education will. It is also becoming increasingly clear that someday people like assembly line workers will not be very important. This is because sometime in the future machines will be able to get the job done much quicker and more efficiently. Of course there will still be jobs that will not require people to have a high school diploma (most likely), but the number of available jobs will grow slim.

The most important thing everyone can do to prepare for the future is at least get a high school diploma. It would be impossible to have everyone go to college, but at least they should finish high school. It will not only make a difference to that person’s future, but also to the future of the United States.

Final Note
Using statistics has its advantages and disadvantages. First off, it is good in that it allows large groups of data to be collected and observed. On the negative side, people who take surveys and such may be answering incorrectly or not responding truthfully. Even though this occurs, official statistics are still a very useful research tool.

Operational Definitions
Poverty- if a family's total income is less than that family's threshold, then that family, and every individual in it, is considered poor. The poverty thresholds do not vary geographically, but they are updated annually for inflation with the Consumer Price Index. The official poverty definition counts money income before taxes and excludes capital gains and noncash benefits (such as public housing, medicaid, and food stamps).

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