I pose a simple question: What percentage of the population of the United States hold a college degree? The answer will appear below the cyber-fold. I must admit I was surprised by the number. I assume that lots of folks who hold a degree estimate too high, I did a quick unscientific survey of a small group of individuals and found that those who do not have a degree give a slightly lower number but still aim a bit too high.
So you have a clue, your guess is probably too high, so knock off 5% maybe 10% if you have a masters or a doctorate, we know those advanced degrees really schew your perception of reality.
So what was your guess? The answer is that as of 2009, twenty-seven and one-half percent of the adult population holds a college degree.
Here is a very cool interactive map from the Chronicle of Higher Education that shows where these over educated people live. It's a county by county breakdown and here is the really cool part, you can track back from 2009 to 1940. You thought the college numbers were higher today, only 4.6% of the country were college educated in 1940. When I got my B.A. in 1969 the overall number had just reached 10%.
The map also has breakouts by gender, ethnicity and income. Before you leave the map, be sure to set it for 2009 and click the Asian button.