Income Sustainability through Educational Attainment

Ronald H. Carlson, Christopher S. McChesney


The authors examined the sustainability of income, as it relates to educational attainment, from the two recent decades, which includes three significant economic downturns. The data was analyzed to determine trends in the wealth gap, parsed by educational attainment and gender. Utilizing the data from 1991 through 2010, predictions in changes in the wealth gap and standard of living, as it relates to educational attainment, was made through the year 2030. The research supported a positive correlation between education levels and salaries, independent of economic conditions in the United States. Thus, the higher the education level achieved, the higher the earnings, and the lower the volatility during periods of economic downturn. Furthermore, the results indicated that a Bachelor Degree only ensured equilibrium with inflationary increases over the two decades. The real earnings, adjusted for inflation, of all educational levels below the Bachelor’s Degree declined over the twenty year period. Thus, the wealth gap is increasing as real earnings have stayed constant or declined for nearly 90% of all workers in the United States. In addition, while there is still a significant gap between female and male earnings, females fared significantly better than their male counterparts, in terms of changes in annual earning’s. The predictions have shown that the wealth gap will continue to widen over the next two decades, based on current trends. In general terms, the authors conclude that the buying power and standard of living in the United States is declining for all education levels below a Bachelor’s Degree.

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Journal of Education and Training Studies  ISSN 2324-805X (Print)   ISSN 2324-8068 (Online)

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