Among 22-year-olds, there are 185 female college graduates for every 100 male graduates. It’s an amazing statistic, and one we saw courtesy of a recent column by David Brooks.
While we each graduated by age 22, and Brooks probably did too, this isn’t the norm. In fact, fewer than half of those who will ultimately complete a college degree have done so by age 22. But women at that age are twice as likely to have finished college as men. Men partly catch up by age 25.
What’s happening to men? Here are three possibilities:
Men are taking longer to graduate high school. This may reflect parents enrolling their sons in school later than their daughters.
Men are taking longer to do a college degree. It is becoming increasingly uncommon to finish college in four years, and many students take even longer. Are there gender differences in this? Why? Perhaps men are more likely to take a gap year (or years)—seeing the world—before going to college.