While the U.S. Latino population with MBAs and PhDs more than doubled in two decades, access to higher education doesn't reflect the relevance of this population segment in the country, reveals a Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data.

According to Pew's findings, Latinos with advanced degrees in the U.S. account for "just 8% of all advanced degree holders in the U.S. in 2021." The proportion of Latinos with graduate levels is far below the 19% they represent in the total population, the organization said.

Pew Research Center released this week a report about the Key factsabout U.S. Latinos with graduate degrees, with comparative data on obtaining degrees such as master's degrees or doctorates among the Latino population between 2000 and 2021.

According to the report, during that period there was a significant increase, with figures indicating that in 2021, nearly 2.5 million Latinos in the U.S. were holders of master's or doctoral degrees, much higher than the figures found in 2000 (710,000); figures that reflects the increase in the Latino population in postsecondary enrollment, in addition to rising educational attainment.

Despite positive data, the report also indicates that the group of Latinos with advanced degrees represent only 8% of the total advanced degrees obtained in 2021 in the US. Data that is more accentuated if considers the percentage of Latinos in the general population of the United States of 19%, as well as a Pew Research Center analysis of Census Bureau data.

More keys about Latinos who hold graduate degrees

According to the data from the U.S. Census Bureau, among Latinos aged 25 and older, only 7% had a graduate degree by 2021, a figure that represents half of the proportion of graduate degrees obtained by Americans of the same age. This figure is above the 4% existing in 2000. Latinos born in North American territory aged 25 or older were also more likely (8%) to have a graduate degree in 2021 than those born abroad (5%). That is, Hispanics born in the US have greater formal education than immigrant Hispanics. The majority of US-born Latinos in the same age group had at least some type of college experience than foreign-born Hispanics (56% vs. 31%)

In 2021, among the Hispanic population who have a graduate degree (2.5 million), the vast majority have a master's degree (1.8 million) as their highest educational level, including degrees such as Master of Arts, Master of Science, Master of Social Work and Master of Business Administration. In addition to this data, 440,000 Latinos had degrees such as Doctor of Medicine, Doctor of Dental Surgery, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and Juris Doctor (law). Latinos who hold advanced degrees such as Ph.D. or Ed. D totaled 250,000.

Among all Americans, 72% of those with a graduate degree have a master's degree as their highest level of education, while 17% have a professional degree and 12% have a doctorate, the Pew Research Center detailed.

A promising piece of information emerges when comparing figures on the number of Hispanic women with an advanced degree between 2000 and 2021 as there was an increase of 291% in this demographic group versus a 199% increase among Hispanic men. This places Hispanic Americans as the racial or ethnic group that has experienced the most growth in advanced degrees than any other racial or ethnic group, as growth in graduate degrees among White, Black and Asian Americans has been slower.

Among Hispanics with graduate degrees, almost two-thirds (63%) are US-born. Among the group of immigrants with a graduate degree, Mexicans are the largest group, being around 250,000 in 2021 and leading over Cubans and Colombians, who share second place with 100,000 each.

Figures for Latino immigrants with an advanced degree indicate that 12% of them have the most advanced degrees among this group (about 110M) and 22% (almost double that) have a professional degree beyond a bachelor's degree. The report indicates that it is uncertain how many Latino immigrants obtained their degrees outside the US. However, the percentages of immigrant Latinos who hold doctorates or professional degrees are slightly higher than those born in the US with a graduate degree: U.S.-born Latinos who hold doctoral degrees represent 9% and those who hold professional degrees represent 15% of U.S.- born Latinos with advanced degrees.

Almost half of Latinos with graduate degrees, 48%, reside in cities, specifically in 10 metropolitan areas, with New York and Miami being the cities that concentrate almost 500,000 Hispanics with graduate degrees.

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