More than half of Americans have less than high school education, according to survey

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Nearly two-thirds of Americans in the bottom half of the educational attainment distribution have less education than the national average, according a new survey.

The Pew Research Center’s Education Survey finds that more than half (56 percent) of those below the U.S. poverty level have less in the form of high school or less education compared to 42 percent of those above the poverty level.

The share of adults who do not have at least a high school diploma is higher among those in the middle (53 percent) and the lower (45 percent) income levels.

The education gap between the two groups has widened since 2010, when only about half (49 percent) had at least some college education.

The Education Survey also finds that a majority of Americans with no college degree or some college experience (62 percent) have less knowledge of how to take advantage of education.

More than one-third of adults with at least high school experience and one-quarter of those with less than a high degree of education have little knowledge of the importance of educational opportunities.

The survey found that more women than men (46 percent) are college-educated.

The proportion of men with less education has grown since 2010 and is up slightly among people in the lowest-income groups.

However, the share of men without a college degree is down from a low of 35 percent in 2010, and it is down among those who have a high level of education (33 percent).

A majority of adults without college experience and those with a high college degree (57 percent) say they are more concerned about the quality of education available to people with less college experience, while one-fifth say they worry about the price of education for those with more.

Among adults with a college or a postsecondary degree, the survey finds that women are most concerned (59 percent) about the value of education compared with men (42 percent).

The Education survey was conducted from October 11 through December 8 among 1,012 adults.

The findings were based on interviews conducted by landline and cellular telephone among a random national sample of 1,010 adults, including 990 who did not have a landline telephone.

The margin of sampling error for all respondents is plus or minus three percentage points.

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