Nearly 2.5 million Latinos in the United States hold advanced degrees such as master’s or doctorates, according to 2021 data. This represents a significant increase compared to the previous year, which recorded 710,000 community members with educational achievements.
The Pew Research Center, which analyzed data from the Census Bureau, shared some findings about Latinos with educational achievements in the United States. It determined that 7% of the community aged 25 and older held a postgraduate degree in 2021, surpassing the 4% in 2000 but still half the proportion among all Americans in this age range, which was 14%.
The study also found that Hispanic Americans have experienced the fastest growth in advanced degrees among any major racial or ethnic group. This includes a 291% increase in the number of women with advanced degrees and a 199% increase in men between 2000 and 2021. This translates to women driving the increasing number of Hispanics with postgraduate degrees, with figures increasing by over a million between 1990 and 2021. Men with advanced degrees also increased, but to a lesser extent.
Immigrant Group with Degrees
Most Latinos with postgraduate degrees were born in the United States, but immigrants make up more than a third of the total. Mexicans comprise the largest academically prepared group, totaling around 250,000 in 2021. They are followed by Cubans, Colombians, Venezuelans, and Dominicans.
Venezuelans stand out as the immigrant Latino group with the highest level of education. In 2021, 22% of community members aged 25 and older held postgraduate degrees, while 36% had at least a bachelor’s degree. Among immigrant Latinos with advanced degrees, approximately 110,000 had a doctorate as their highest level of education (12%), and 200,000 (22%) had a professional degree beyond a bachelor’s. This study did not clarify how many people obtained their degrees outside the United States.
These percentages of doctorates and professional degrees are slightly higher for immigrants than for U.S.-born Latinos with postgraduate degrees. The former group represents 15%, while the latter is at 9%.
Nearly half of all Hispanics with postgraduate degrees, 48%, reside in the top 10 metropolitan areas. In fact, over 500,000 academically prepared Latinos are concentrated in just two metropolitan areas: New York (280,000) and Miami (230,000).
The list of metropolitan areas with the most Latino graduates differs from the top 10 cities with Latino populations overall. San Francisco and Washington, D.C., are highlighted as primary locations for academically prepared Latinos but not for immigrants in general. Both cities serve as employment hubs that may require advanced education, particularly in fields like technology or policy.