Highly educated people are less likely to be poor than less-educated people. That's true today, it was true decades ago, and it's not especially surprising. What is a bit surprising is what's shown in this chart from Melissa Boteach and Shawn Fremstad of the Center for American Progress — poor Americans are much better-educated today than they were a generation ago:
There are a lot of problems with the official poverty metric, so don't sweat the details of this too much. The point, however, is that you can't count on improving educational outcomes alone to cure poverty. We've made dramatically more progress in improving high school graduation rates and college attendance rates than we've made in raising the market incomes of workers at the bottom of the income pyramid. And the 2013 data in part shows that recessions continue to be punishing, poverty-inducing experiences for Americans with all kinds of educational credentials.
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