Economic Find: The White Man Premium

Get a college degree and get a good job, right?  Sort of.  There is indeed such a thing as a college premium.  For example, the chart below shows that the average annual income for a college graduate is $21,000 more than for someone with a high school education.

But the advantages of education are not shared equally by all.  At every single education level, from no high school degree to a PhD, whites, and white men in particular, have higher average annual incomes.  And these disparities only increase with more education.  The good news is that the wage gap has narrowed, but with black women with PhDs earning almost $35,000 less annually than white men of the same education background, there is obviously much more progress to be made.

For more information on income trends in education by race and ethnicity, check out this table.


Based on the 2006 Field Guide to the US Economy. “The College Premium.” 2.6: 26.
Revised by CPE Intern Slavena Molle and Member Economist Sue Holmberg


Data Source: