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New Census data reveals the top 5 highest-earning bachelor’s degrees in the US

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Last Updated on December 9, 2023 by Robert C. Hoopes

Title: Income Disparities and Student Debt Remain Key Challenges for Graduates, Census Bureau Survey Reveals

Subtitle: Engineering Majors Continue to Top Median Income Charts, While Student Debt Soars to $1.7 Trillion

According to the latest findings from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 5-year survey, the median household income in the United States hovers around $75,000. However, this figure varies greatly depending on factors such as location, gender, field of work, and level of education.

The study highlights a significant income disparity between individuals with different educational backgrounds. Workers with only a high school diploma face a median income of less than $37,000, while those with a bachelor’s degree earn just under $65,000.

Surprisingly, engineering degrees emerge as the most lucrative, with Americans aged 25 to 64 reporting a median income of approximately $111,600. This finding suggests that pursuing a career in engineering may offer substantial financial rewards.

In fact, engineering graduates dominate the list of bachelor’s degrees that generate the highest median income, which includes majors such as computers, mathematics, physical and related sciences, business, and social sciences. With the exception of one state, individuals with engineering degrees earn higher median incomes than their peers in other fields across the country.

Geographically, the District of Columbia boasts the highest median wage for engineering majors, followed closely by California and Maryland. These states provide attractive career prospects and financial incentives for those pursuing careers in engineering.

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On the other end of the spectrum, the study also reveals the degrees associated with the lowest median incomes. Visual and performing arts, education, psychology, multidisciplinary studies, and literature and languages face the greatest challenges in terms of income potential.

While these findings may seem promising for graduates of lucrative fields, the narrative shifts when considering the skyrocketing issue of student debt. National student debt has exceeded a staggering $1.7 trillion, burdening numerous individuals with considerable financial strain.

According to data from the Department of Education, East Coast residents face the highest levels of student debt. This revelation raises concerns as recent graduates struggle to find a balance between meeting their debt obligations and pursuing their desired career paths.

The U.S. Census Bureau’s 2018-2022 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates provide a comprehensive understanding of the changing dynamics within communities. By shedding light on income disparities and student debt challenges associated with specific degrees, policymakers and educators can develop strategies to address these pressing issues.

As the job market becomes increasingly competitive, individuals must consider both the potential income and debt implications associated with their chosen field of study. Making informed decisions about educational pursuits and financial planning is crucial for navigating the ever-evolving landscape of the job market and professional success.

Robert is a talented writer and educator with a focus on MBA courses. He has years of experience teaching and writing about the intricacies of business education, and his work is highly regarded for its depth of insight and practical application. Robert holds a Master's degree in Business Administration from a reputable institution, and his academic background gives him a unique perspective on the challenges and opportunities facing MBA students. He has a talent for breaking down complex concepts into easy-to-understand language, making his writing accessible to a wide range of readers.

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