U.S. Losing College Grad Share to China, India: Chart of the Day

China and India are increasing their share of the world’s college graduates while the U.S. proportion continues to fall as those emerging economies boost opportunities by making larger investments in education.

The CHART OF THE DAY shows that the proportion of graduating students who attend school in the U.S. is projected to fall to 17.8 percent by 2020 from 23.8 in 2000, while China will climb to 13.4 percent from 9 percent and India increases to 7.7 percent from 6.5 percent, according to data compiled by researchers at the Center for American Progress.

China and India, which have larger populations of college graduates than the U.S., also have educational attainment that’s outstripping the world’s largest economy, meaning more people are reaching higher levels of schooling, according to an analysis of data by Donna Cooper, Adam Hersh and Ann O’Leary of the Washington-based center.

“We’re not educating people at the pace we need to remain globally competitive,” Hersh said. “The most important thing for economic growth and competitiveness is to have a highly skilled workforce and China’s investment in its workforce is at the core of its strategy for economic growth while we in the U.S. are looking away from education and cutting resources.”

The U.S. will probably lose its lead to China sometime between 2030 and 2035 if the trends remain constant, said Hersh, who used data from the U.S. Census Bureau, Harvard University and Korea University.

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