Census Bureau data reveal that during the recent economic expansion, workers with professional degrees (e.g. physicians, lawyers) were the only educational group to see an increase in inflation-adjusted income. Every other group from Ph.D.s to high school dropouts experienced declining income.
In 2007 for example, professionals had an inflation adjusted median salary of $89,602, a 3% increase from 2000. In 2007, people with bachelor’s degrees earned $47,240 and high school graduates earned $28,290, respectively-a 3% drop for both groups during the period.
At least the data suggest there’s value to higher education. Master’s prepared people earned 20% more than those with bachelor’s degrees, and they in turn earned 67% more than those with high school diplomas.
These differences are shrinking though. In 2000 workers with a college degree earned twice as much as workers with high school diplomas. So when are those college loans due anyway?