The Need / Our Impact > The Need is Real > The Power of Education
The Power of Education
"The Y has given me a safe place to make friends and to grow as an individual. I feel safe here. We’re able to speak freely without judgment. This year, I will earn my diploma and I’m planning to go to college."
The data clearly demonstrates that educational attainment impacts financial security. Across the board, higher educational attainment means lower levels of poverty.
Overall, Essex County women and men aged 25 years and older have fairly comparable educational attainment. Eighty-nine percent of both men and women are high school graduates or higher; 38% of men and 35% of women have earned their Bachelor’s degrees or higher.
However, female householders have on average lower levels of educational attainment and higher poverty rates than male householders and married couple householders.
- 18% of female householders have less than a high school degree resulting in 49% of their families living below the poverty level, versus 7% of married couple householders with 14% living below the poverty level.
- Even among female householders with Bachelor’s degrees or higher (20%), 9% of their families live below the poverty level. In contrast, 47% of married couple householders have their Bachelor’s degree or higher with 1% living below the poverty level. (Exception: 22% of male householders have their Bachelor’s degree or higher with 11% living below the poverty level).
There is much better news for young women currently enrolled in school, full time or part time.
This higher level of educational attainment can be a factor to help break the cycle of low income, reduced opportunity, and possible poverty, particularly if accompanied by an increase in employment opportunities and wage parity
- Of young women ages 18-24, 48% (15,670) are currently enrolled in college or graduate school, versus 39% of young men ages 18-24 (13,443).
- Of students ages 18 years and older currently enrolled in college, 56% (21,062) are women and 44% (16,539) are men. Of the students ages 18 years and older currently enrolled in graduate or professional school, 69% (9,430) are women and 31% (4,207) are men.