Latinas Graduate from College in Higher Numbers than Latinos


CLACLS Summer Research Fellowships 2021

A New Report from the Center for Latin American, Caribbean and Latino Studies at The Graduate Center, CUNY Studies College Graduation Rates among Latinos in New York City and Finds Striking Differences by Sex and Nativity

NEW YORK, November 1, 2022—The Graduate Center of The City University of New York’s Center for Latin American, Caribbean and Latino Studies (CLACLS) has released an updated report on college graduation rates among the Latino population since 1990.

The report, titled “Changing College Graduation Rates Among New York City’s Latino Populations, 1990–2020” examines the trends in higher educational attainment among all Latinos in New York City and within the five largest population nationalities in 2020: Dominicans, Puerto Ricans, Mexicans, Ecuadorians, and Colombians.

There were important differences in college graduation rates among the City’s Latino population by sex, nativity, and nationality. Latinas of every nationality were the highest achievers, and this was especially the case if they were born in the United States. Among all Latinas 25 years of age and older living in New York City in 2020 and born in the U.S., nearly 32% had achieved a B.A. degree or higher compared with 24% of Latinos born in the U.S.

By way of comparison 15.5% of foreign-born Latinas had graduated college compared with 14.3% of Latinos.

There was a very clear hierarchy in college-degree educational attainment when the five largest Latino nationalities are examined, among both women and men. Colombian, Ecuadorian, and Mexican women born in the U.S. had college graduation rates well above 40%, while among Dominican women born in the U.S. about one-third had graduated college. Puerto Rican women born in the U.S. had the lowest college graduation rates at 23%. The data examined for this report do not permit a detailed analysis for the causes of these differentials. However, clearly these data suggest the need for a more all-inclusive research project.

Other key findings:

• Latinos living in New York City in 2020 who had achieved a B.A. degree or higher earned median household incomes of $107,721 compared with high school graduates whose median household incomes stood at $61,879.

• Among all undergraduates enrolled in all CUNY campuses 31% were of Hispanic origin in the Fall 2019 semester. Over 52% of Lehman College’s undergraduates were Latinos in the Fall 2019 semester; 45% of John Jay’s; 34% of City College’s undergraduates; and nearly or over 20% at Brooklyn, Hunter, Baruch, Queens, Staten Island, and York.

Contact Sebastián Villamizar-Santamaría, Director of Quantitative Research, for a PDF of the report at

About The Center for Latin American, Caribbean and Latino Studies

The core mission of CLACLS is to actively support and advance the study of Latin America, the Caribbean, and Latinos in the U.S. in the doctoral programs of The Graduate Center, and to provide opportunities for Latino students at the Ph.D. level. CLACLS’s flagship program is the Latino Data Project, established in 2003 by Laird W. Bergad founding and current CLACLS director. Bergad is a distinguished professor in the Department of Latin American, Puerto Rican, and Latino Studies at Lehman College and with the Ph.D. Program in History at The Graduate Center. The Latino Data Project conducts detailed quantitative research on the Latino population of the United States and New York City metropolitan region, analyzing raw data files produced by the U.S. Census Bureau and other government agencies.

About The Graduate Center, CUNY

The Graduate Center of The City University of New York (CUNY) is a leader in public graduate education devoted to enhancing the public good through pioneering research, serious learning, and reasoned debate. The Graduate Center offers ambitious students more than 40 doctoral and master’s programs of the highest caliber, taught by top faculty from throughout CUNY — the nation’s largest public urban university. Through its nearly 40 centers, institutes, and initiatives, including its Advanced Science Research Center (ASRC), The Graduate Center influences public policy and discourse and shapes innovation. The Graduate Center’s extensive public programs make it a home for culture and conversation.

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