Measuring educational attainment: The old and the new census and BLS taxonomies Academic Article uri icon


  • After a half century in which education was measured by school years completed, the U.S. Census Bureau has revised the measure of educational attainment focusing more on degree recipiency and providing greater detail for the diversity of college degrees. At first blush the new taxonomy is a decided improvement on the old measure, but the statistical comparisons suggest that the improvement is marginal at best. The new taxonomy shifts detail to higher levels of education where the population is moving and where greater detail is therefore justified. We suspect the advantage of the new measure will increase over time, but there continues to be a need for specificity of areas of concentration. [JEL I20] 1998 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Ureta, M., & Welch, F.

citation count

  • 2

complete list of authors

  • Ureta, M||Welch, F

publication date

  • February 1998