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9.6%: Decline from 2000 to 2010 in inflation-adjusted median earnings of people 25 to 34 years old with a bachelor’s degree and no graduate degree.
When young college graduates do land a job, it often won’t pay well. According to the Census Bureau, the median annual earnings of a worker 25 to 34 years old with a bachelor’s degree (but no graduate degree) was $40,875 last year. That compares with $45,200 in 2000, adjusting for inflation.
Older college-educated workers also saw their earnings fall, but not by nearly as much. Numbers like these help explain the fervor of the young Occupy Wall Street protesters, who have come to believe the American dream is passing them by.
1. They probably have higher debt since college increased in cost since 2000
“In 2011, college graduates are leaving school with close to $23,000 in debt. That’s the highest number we’ve ever seen,” according to Howard Dvorkin, founder of Consolidated Credit Counseling.
Another student loan observer, Mark Kantrowitz, who runs FinAid.org and Fastweb.com, says student-loan debt now exceeds credit-card debt. “It’s become a big, big problem,” he says.
According to credit.com, a website that publishes credit card research and analysis, college seniors in the U.S. on average have $4,100 in credit card debt and average more than $24,000 in debt from student loans.
Rachel Grimes, program coordinator for UNT’s Student Money Management Center, said about 70 percent of UNT students use some form of financial aid, mostly student loans.