OECD Report Finds U.S. Lags Behind Other Countries in Higher Education Attainment Rate

Huffington Post, September 11, 2012

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s 2012 Education at a Glance report has found that while the U.S. boasts high education attainment levels overall, it lags behind other countries that are increasing attainment levels at a higher rate.

The report analyzed the education systems of the 34 OECD member countries in addition to Argentina, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Russia, Saudi Arabia and South Africa.

In the U.S., 42 percent of all 25-64 year-olds have reached higher education—making it one of the most well educated countries in the world, but behind Canada (51 percent), Israel (46 percent), Japan (45 percent) and the Russian Federation (54 percent). When it comes to the young adult population, however, the U.S. ranks 14th among 37 OECD and G20 countries in the percentage of 25-34 year-olds boasting higher education attainment, at 42 percent. This puts it above the OECD average of 38 percent, but over 20 percentage points behind the leader, Korea, at 65 percent.

According to the report, higher education attainment levels in the U.S. are growing at a below-average rate compared to other OECD and G20 countries. Between 2000 and 2010, attainment levels in the U.S. increased by an average of 1.3 percentage points annually, while its OECD counterparts boasted a 3.7 percentage-point increase per year overall.

“Based on these trends, the U.S. may find that an increasing number of countries will approach or surpass its attainment levels in the coming years,” the U.S. country report reads. {snip}

These trends are also mirrored in the graduation rates of higher education institutions, the report states. In 1995, the U.S. ranked second behind New Zealand in graduate output among 19 OECD countries with comparable data. In 2010, it ranked 13th among 25 countries with comparable data. Though the higher education graduation rate in the U.S. grew from 33 percent to 38 percent over this time frame, the increase paled in comparison to that of its OECD peers, whose graduation rates on average nearly doubled from 20 percent to 39 percent.



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  • humptydumpty

    While I agree that most minority children are not very bright, I have to disagree with the article. What makes us look bad are those hordes of minority children who aren’t smart enough to compete in this society. But of the White and Oriental children, there are plenty of them who are top notch. In this society anymore, it doesn’t take as amny excellent people as it used to, to make the society work. The techological level we’ve attained has made many if not most of the minorities opsolete people. As the technology increases, they will daily find themselves further back with no hope of ever rising in the societal structure.  

    • The__Bobster

      The day will come when the excellent people will refuse to work for the benefit of the non-excellent ones.

    • potato78

      You are absolutely right.
      Those Super Smart “minority people” will be taxed like taxed-holic “as….ole”.
      Those “obsolete majority people” will be “welfare”ed to become like obesity “as…ole”.

  • jedsrael

    This decline wouldn’t be happening if Whites weren’t so “desperately clinging” to their privilege and hatred.

  • If you factor out the black and brown scores from the equation, the USA is in the top three.  Basically the Whites and Asians are competing and attaining at the highest levels, but the blacks and browns do so poorly that the mean is pulled down violently.

    • ncpride

      Exactly right. There was an excellent article here on AmRen a while back from a fella who did the research and charts and proved that if you take out black and Mexican test scores, we DO rank in the top 3.

    • JDInSanDiego

      And we’d probably easily rank at number 1 if our White and Asian students hadn’t been forced to sit in the same classes as the other groups for 12 or 16 years.  There has to be a certain downward drag.

  • WmarkW

    Steve Sailer showed from the OECD two years ago, that the USA educates its whites as well as any other white country, its Asians as well as any Asian country, its Latinos better than any Latino country, and its blacks better than any black country.    We just spend too damn much on it because of the latter two.  

    (How can Korea and Japan score so high without the benefits from diversity?)

  • They are comparing apples to oranges. , those other countries do not have 30 million illegal
    aliens and their anchor babies negatively skewing their numbers. Also, those
    other countries or largely homogeneous, and do not live by the multiculturalism
    and diversity mantra.

  • NorthernWind

    Consider only the White and Asian populations and I bet the USA is near the top. Of course, the HuffPost would never allow that kind of information to be published because it makes them look foolish. 

    • potato78

      Rich man say “I am rich.” is ok.
      Poor man say “I am poor.” is ok.
      Poor man say “You (Rich man) are rich.” is ok.
      Rich man say “You (poor man) are poor.” is not ok, because it’s sound like “you are stupid or idiot.”

  • Puggg

    We would “rank” lower if we didn’t use affirmative action in higher education.  I put no credence in this study because it only measures people who get pieces of paper.  More and more, any correlation between having a college degree and actually being educated and/or intelligent is purely coincidental.

  • anonymous_amren

    Off topic, but what happened with Jared Taylor in Sydney?

  • US has way too many universities. Counting colleges & universities, I think it’s somewhere beyond 500- NOT counting community colleges. Well, I may be wrong, these figures can be checked, but evidently US is schooling the “world”.

    That’s too much, although some smaller colleges with less than 1,000 undergraduates may distort the big picture. Just take Germany, Britain, Russia, Japan, France, Finland, Israel…& look the number of higher education institutions per capita.

    Ugh… I was wrong:

    The United States has a total of 4,495 Title IV-eligible, degree-granting institutions: 2,774 4-year institutions and 1,721 2-year institutions, an average of more than 115 per state.


    Public 4-year institutions 629
    Private 4-year institutions 1,845


  • The Worlds Scapegoat

    They won’t let whites into Universities, so how can they get educated higher?


  • The “pace of intellectual decline” increases in inverse relation to the “greater numbers of non-whites invading the nation.” Strangely enough, white children who are homeschooled, exhibit the IQ’s and achievement scores at the top of the  previous (pre-SAT dumbed down) scores for this benchmark test. Wonder why???? Gee, I dunno….