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Speaking of: College Graduates

June 23, 1992| Compiled by Times researcher Kevin Fox

As millions of American college and university students don caps and gowns for graduation, here's a look at higher education degrees recently conferred in 20 advanced countries. The United States comes out well: tops in graduate degrees and second in bachelor's degrees, relative to population. But Canada and most of Scandinavia outspend us in elementary- and secondary-school education.

Women fare best in Norway, where they earn 65% of bachelor's degrees. U.S. women, at 51.7%, aren't too far behind. But Japan occupies the lowest rung by far: only 26%.

Graduates as a percentage of college-aged population

Bachelor's Graduate United States 24.1 9.7 Canada 26.3 4.3 Norway 22.4 7.4 Japan 22.3 1.6 France 15.9 6.0 Australia 18.2 1.5 Britain 14.8 4.9 Ireland 17.0 2.0 New Zealand 12.4 4.9 West Germany* 12.9 1.5 Finland 12.4 1.1 Denmark 12.9 na Greece 11.7 0.4 Spain 9.6 0.5 Italy 7.6 1.7 Netherlands** 8.0 na Austria 7.2 0.6 Turkey 5.3 0.6 Belgium na na Sweden na na

Graduate numbers include master's, doctorates and professional degrees. College-aged population varies from country to country, but is roughly that part of the population between the ages of 22 and 24 for bachelor's degrees and 24 to 26 for graduate degrees.

* Preunification

** Numbers of graduate degrees included in data on bachelor's degrees.

na = not available

Percentage of bachelor's-degree graduates who are female United States: 51.7 Canada: 54.0 Norway: 65.0 Japan: 26.0 France: 49.0 Australia: 49.6 Britain: 44.7 Ireland: na New Zealand: 46.7 West Germany*: 38.0 Finland: 56.2 Denmark: 41.6 Greece: 51.1 Spain: 52.5 Italy: 47.6 Netherlands**: 34.6 Austria: 39.7 Turkey: 34.4 Belgium: 40.1 Sweden: 53.3

Graduate numbers include master's, doctorates and professional degrees. College-aged population varies from country to country, but is roughly that part of the population between the ages of 22 and 24 for bachelor's degrees and 24 to 26 for graduate degrees.

* Preunification

** Numbers of graduate degrees included in data on bachelor's degrees.

na = not available

The Road to College

Annual expenditures per student in elementary and secondary schools in U.S. dollars Norway: $4,368 Sweden: 4,295 Canada: 4,207 Denmark: 3,610 United States: 3,603 Finland: 3,264 Austria: 3,226 Belgium: 2,867 Britain: 2,687 France: 2,393 West Germany: 2,300 Netherlands: 2,259 Australia: 2,127 Japan: 2,096 Italy: 1,910 New: Zealand: 1,670 Ireland: 1,251 Spain: 855 Turkey: 639 Greece: na

na = not available

U.S. expenditures are based on enrollment of public and private students and public expenditures.

Source: Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) reports for 1987, the last year for which complete data is available.

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