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Economic Brief

Feb. 7, 2018

Richmond Fed Report Links College-Completion Gains to Family Structure

U.S. college-completion rates are growing significantly faster for children from households where two parents are present and one parent has a college degree than for children from one-parent households, where the parent does not have a college degree. That’s according to the latest Economic Brief from the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.

College attendance is rising for both groups, particularly for children from households with no degree, but completion rates are rising much faster for two-parent households. The paper’s authors attribute these increases to families responding to the growing college-wage premium. The authors conclude that family structure remains an important predictor of college completion even after controlling for family earnings, number of siblings, race, sex and the family’s geographic region.

The Richmond Fed’s Economic Brief series provides web-exclusive essays on current economic issues and trends. Sign up to receive an email notification when a new essay is posted.

As part of our nation’s central bank, the Richmond Fed is one of 12 regional Reserve Banks working together with the Board of Governors to support a healthy economy and deliver on our mission to foster economic stability and strength. We connect with community and business leaders across the Fifth Federal Reserve District—including the Carolinas, District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia, and most of West Virginia—to monitor economic conditions, address issues facing our communities, and share this information with monetary and financial policymakers. We also work with banks to ensure they are operating safely and soundly, supply financial institutions with currency that’s fit for distribution, and provide a safe and efficient way to transfer funds through our nation’s payments system.


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