Despite California’s growing economy, the state is home to the highest poverty rate in the nation, and the chasm between richest and poorest is wide and deep. Income disparity is one significant driver of this paradox, and one that greater access to meaningful postsecondary education can help address.
To ensure that access to postsecondary opportunity is available to all, it’s important to understand the equity gaps that exist among groups in our diverse state. This brief from California Competes analyzes high school, postsecondary, and employment outcomes to illuminate challenges that are consistent across racial and ethnic groups, gender, and region, as well as where they are distinct. College Futures Foundation provided a grant to support this research.
Some of the key findings include:
- Latinos earn the lowest median wages of all racial/groups, but show the largest improvements in high school graduation and college enrollment.
- Black Californians experience the greatest educational gender disparities—black women have much stronger educational outcomes than black men.
- Native Americans in California suffer from the lowest workforce participation rate.
In addition to the brief, California Competes has created fact sheets with details for each of California’s largest racial/ethnic group, ordered by size: Latino, White, Asian, Black, Pacific Islander, and Native American.
The brief also includes recommendations for steps state policymakers can take to better understand and tackle persistent inequities in California’s education-to-employment pipeline, starting with a statewide, comprehensive education data system that allows for disaggregation by race/ethnicity.