Overall, educational-attainment rates for Latinos are far behind where they need to be, especially considering their projected growth as a share of the workforce and the growing demand for postsecondary training.
Among the cities with the largest Latino populations, the share of those with a bachelor’s degree or higher is in some cases as low as 5 percent, according to data from the National Equity Atlas, a joint research collaboration from PolicyLink and the University of Southern California’s Program for Environmental and Regional Equity. Nowhere is educational attainment higher for Latinos than in Miami, where 26 percent of Latino working adults ages 25-64 hold at least a four-year degree. By comparison, 42 percent of Miami’s white population is college educated—a 16-point gap.
For Joaquin Martinez, associate provost for student achievement at Miami Dade College, that 26 percent is just not good enough. Especially in the face of what he calls “the perfect storm building on the horizon” of a growing Latino population and workforce, higher attainment for Latinos is crucial for fully benefitting from and contributing to the economy.
“We are floored by that, and we work diligently to increase that. That’s not impressive,” Martinez says of Miami’s share of Latino working-age college graduates. “Student success outcomes have huge implications economically for the whole country, but especially for students locally and the local workforce.”
Towns with best Latino achievement in bachelors degrees
Total population 5,564,635 Percent of population that is Latino 42% Percent of Latino population that has bachelors degree 26%
Total population 5,582,170 Percent of population that is Latino 14% Percent of Latino population that has bachelors degree 23%
Total population 2,134,411 Percent of population that is Latino 25% Percent of Latino population that has bachelors degree 20%
Total population 4,552,402 Percent of population that is Latino 9% Percent of Latino population that has bachelors degree 20%
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