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United States
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Diagram of the education system



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Key

- Diagram of education system in country language

- Old diagram using ISCED 1997 classification

- General methodological notes for ISCED diagrams

Education system in United States

United States
Overview of the education system (EAG 2016)
  • In the United States, there is still a wide gender gap in favour of men in the labour market, in both employment and earnings (Figure 1).
  • Early childhood education plays a significant role in cognitive development and later school performance, but enrolment in early childhood education remains low in the United States compared to the OECD average.
  • The share of 25-64 year-olds with tertiary education in the United States remains higher than the OECD average, but the relative advantage is shrinking among 25-34 year-olds, as the tertiary attainment rate is increasing much faster in many other countries.
  • The United States continues to be the global leader in the international tertiary education market, though international students make up a small percentage of the total US tertiary enrolment.
  • In the United States, among 25-44 year-olds with low-educated parents, upward intergenerational mobility is lower among those whose parents are both foreign-born than among those whose parents are both native-born. The opposite is observed among 25-44 year-olds with tertiary-educated parents: among those whose parents are both foreign-born, a larger share are attaining tertiary education.
  • In the United States, tertiary-educated 25-64 year-olds who studied teacher training and education science earn 61% as much as those who studied engineering, manufacturing and construction, a bigger gap than what is seen on average across countries and subnational entities that participated in the Survey of Adult Skills, a product of the OECD Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC).
  • In the United States, 96% of 25-64 year-old women with high literacy proficiency reported that they are in good health, while only 64% of those with low literacy proficiency reported so.
  • Despite a decrease in expenditure per student between 2008 and 2013, the United States continued to have higher-than-average annual spending per student at each level of education in 2013, from primary through tertiary education.
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    The following list displays indicators for which your selected country shows the highest and lowest values among countries. The list can be sorted by level of education or by age group. All rankings are calculated including available data from OECD and partner countries. Find out more about the methodology here.

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    Educational outcomes

    The level of upper secondary attainment among 25-64 year-olds is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (90 %, rank 8/43 ) Download Indicator

    The level of upper secondary attainment among 55-64 year-olds is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (90 %, rank 4/43 ) Download Indicator

    The level of tertiary attainment among 25-64 year-olds is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (45 %, rank 6/44 ) Download Indicator

    The level of tertiary attainment among 55-64 year-olds is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (41 %, rank 4/44 ) Download Indicator

    Participation in education

    United States has one of the highest percentages of young people expected to graduate from short tertiary education programmes during their lifetime. (22 %, rank 7/32 ) Download Indicator

    The percentage of today's young people expected to obtain a master's or an equivalent degree during their lifetime is one of the highest among OECD countries and partner economies with available data. (20 %, rank 10/38 ) Download Indicator

    Excluding mobile students, United States has one of the lowest percentages of young people expected to complete a doctorate or an equivalent education during their lifetime. (1 %, rank 18/27 ) Download Indicator

    Among OECD countries and partner economies with available data, United States has one of the highest percentages of young people expected to graduate from tertiary education during their lifetime. (54 %, rank 8/30 ) Download Indicator

    Excluding mobile students, United States has one of the highest percentages of young people expected to graduate from tertiary education during their lifetimes. (53 %, rank 7/24 ) Download Indicator

    The percentage of four-year-olds in early childhood and primary education in United States is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (68 %, rank 31/34 ) Download Indicator

    Resources for education

    Annual expenditure per student from primary to tertiary level is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (15720 USD Equivalent, rank 2/36 ) Download Indicator

    Annual expenditure per pupil at the pre-primary level is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (9986 USD Equivalent, rank 8/30 ) Download Indicator

    Annual expenditure per primary student is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (10959 USD Equivalent, rank 5/38 ) Download Indicator

    Annual expenditure per secondary student is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (12740 USD Equivalent, rank 6/38 ) Download Indicator

    The share of private expenditure on tertiary education is one of the largest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (64 %, rank 3/37 ) Download Indicator

    Between 2010 and 2012, the change in expenditure on educational institutions (from primary to tertiary level) as a percentage of GDP, excluding subsidies, is among the smallest of all OECD countries and partner economies with available data. (92 Index, rank 23/28 ) Download Indicator

    Between 2010 and 2012, the change in public expenditure on primary through tertiary educational institutions is comparatively small. (98 Index, rank 25/31 ) Download Indicator

    Teachers

    The number of students per teacher in tertiary institutions is one of the smallest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (15 Students, rank 24/33 ) Download Indicator

    The number of students per teacher in secondary schools is one of the largest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (15 Students, rank 10/36 ) Download Indicator

    The number of hours per year lower secondary teachers spend teaching in public institutions is comparatively large in United States. (981 Hours, rank 4/31 ) Download Indicator

    Teachers' salaries

    After 15 years of experience, a lower secondary teacher with minimum qualification can expect to have one of the highest salaries among OECD and partner countries with available data. (48576 USD Equivalent, rank 9/29 ) Download Indicator

    After 15 years of experience, an upper secondary teacher with minimum qualification can expect to have one of the highest salaries among OECD and partner countries with available data. (51442 USD Equivalent, rank 8/29 ) Download Indicator

    After 15 years of experience, a pre-primary teacher with minimum qualification can expect to have one of the highest salaries among OECD and partner countries with available data. (46773 USD Equivalent, rank 4/23 ) Download Indicator

    After 15 years of experience, a primary teacher with minimum qualification can expect to have one of the highest salaries among OECD and partner countries with available data. (47494 USD Equivalent, rank 9/29 ) Download Indicator

    The ratio of primary teachers' salaries to earnings of full-time, full-year workers with tertiary education is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (1 Ratio, rank 19/22 ) Download Indicator

    The ratio of lower secondary teachers' salaries to earnings of full-time, full-year workers with tertiary education is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (1 Ratio, rank 20/22 ) Download Indicator

    The ratio of upper secondary teachers' salaries to earnings of full-time, full-year workers with tertiary education is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (1 Ratio, rank 20/22 ) Download Indicator

    Economic and social outcomes

    Compared with other OECD and partner countries, the difference in earnings between 25-64 year-old men with tertiary education and those with upper secondary education is quite high. (177 Index, rank 10/37 ) Download Indicator

    Compared with other OECD and partner countries, the proportional difference in earnings between 25-64 year-old adults with a short-cycle tertiary education degree and those with upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary education is low. (114 Index, rank 18/25 ) Download Indicator

    Compared with other OECD and partner countries, the proportional difference in earnings between 25-64 year-old adults with a bachelor's or equivalent degree and those with upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary education is high. (160 Index, rank 8/29 ) Download Indicator

    Compared with other OECD and partner countries, the proportional difference in earnings between 25-64 year-old adults with a master's or equivalent degree and those with upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary education is high. (222 Index, rank 6/29 ) Download Indicator


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    General findings
    • Labour market outcomes are better among the higher-educated: on average across OECD countries, the unemployment rate is 12.4% for adults with below upper secondary education, while it is 4.9% for the tertiary-educated.
    • In all OECD countries, earnings differentials between adults with tertiary education and those with upper secondary education are generally more pronounced than the difference between the earnings of those with upper secondary education and those with below upper secondary education. This suggests large earnings advantages for tertiary education. On average, adults with a master's, doctoral or equivalent degree earn almost twice as those with upper secondary education across OECD countries, and those with a bachelor's or equivalent degree earn 48% more, while those with a short-cycle tertiary degree earn only about 20% more.
    • Adults with higher qualifications were more likely to report desirable social outcomes, including good or excellent health, participation in volunteer activities, interpersonal trust, and political efficacy.
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    • Across all levels of educational attainment, the gender gap in earnings persists, and although women generally have higher educational attainment, a large gender gap in earnings is seen between male and female full-time workers with tertiary education.
    • Across OECD_countries, tertiary-educated women earn only 73% as much as tertiary-educated men. This gender gap of 27% in earnings for tertiary-educated adults is higher than the gender gap for adults with below upper secondary (24%) and adults with upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary education (22%).
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    • In a majority of OECD countries, education now begins for most children well before they are 5-years-old. Some 71% of 3-year-olds are enrolled in early childhood education across OECD countries.
    • Based on current patterns, it is estimated that an average of 85% of today's young people in OECD_countries will complete upper secondary education over their lifetime.
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    • Based on current patterns of graduation, an average of 36% of today's young people across OECD countries are expected to graduate from tertiary education at least once before the age of 30.
    • In 2014, a majority of first-time tertiary graduates (72%) earned a bachelor's degree, 12% earned a_master's degree and 16% earned a short-cycle tertiary diploma, on average across OECD countries.
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    • On average, OECD countries spend USD 10 493 per student per year on primary through tertiary educational institutions: USD 8 477 per primary student, USD 9 980 per lower secondary student, USD 9 990 per upper secondary student and USD 15 772 per tertiary student.
    • In 2013, OECD countries spent an average of 5.2% of their gross domestic product (GDP) on educational institutions from primary to tertiary education, ranging from 3.5% in Luxembourg to 6.7% in the United Kingdom.
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    • The average primary school class in OECD countries has 21 students, and this average increases to 23 in lower secondary education. These figures represent a decrease when compared to the OECD_average class sizes in 2005.
    • The difference in average class size between public and private institutions in primary education varies substantially across OECD countries, but is considerably larger in partner countries.
    • There are 15 students per teacher in primary education, on average across OECD countries. The_figure increases to 17 students per teacher, on average, at the tertiary level.
    • On average across OECD countries, pre-primary teachers' actual salaries are 74% of the earnings of a tertiary-educated 25-64 year-old full-time, full-year worker. Primary teachers are paid 81% of these benchmark earnings, lower secondary teachers 85% and upper secondary teachers 89%.
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    Note: These values should be interpreted with care since they are influenced by countries' specific contexts and trade-offs. In education, there is often no simple most- or least-efficient model. For instance, the share of private expenditure in education must be read against other measures designed to mitigate inequities, such as loans and grants; longer learning time is an opportunity to convey more and better content to students, but may hinder investments in other important areas. If you want further information on the nature of different variables, please take the time to read the analysis and contextual information, available at the website for each publication.
    All rankings for individual variables are compiled on the basis of OECD and G20 countries for which data are available. The OECD average includes only OECD countries which are listed here: http://www.oecd.org/about/membersandpartners/

    *TALIS averages are based on all countries participating in the TALIS survey, including partner countries and economies. This explains the difference between the OECD average and the TALIS average. Data from the TALIS survey and Education at a Glance (EAG) may differ. See Annex E of the TALIS technical report and Annex 3 of EAG for more details about the data collections.

    For additional notes, please refer to annexes in the list of links below the introductory country profile text.