Where are the brothers? Alternatives to four-year college for black males
There has been much discussion, but little research about why African American males do not attend and or complete a college education. We examine the alternatives that might reduce or compete with the decision to complete a college education. We analyze the number of men incarcerated, trends in labor force participation, and occupation and wages by educational attainment. We find that even when the number of 18-24-year-old African American males incarcerated increased, the number of 18-24-year-old African American males enrolled in college had a larger increase suggesting that incarceration is not a plausible explanation for the growth rate in degree attainment for African American males. We find that the decrease in the overall percentage and in the percentage of 18-24-year-old African American males reporting employed as their labor force status and the increase in the percentage for these groups reporting not in the labor force and unemployed may have an impact on the college degree completion. Additionally, an increasing percentage of African American males have an associate's or bachelor's degree, but there was a larger percentage change in the percent of African American males with some college. African American males with some college earn significantly less than those with an associate's or bachelor's degree, but earn significantly more than African American women with some college or an associate's degree. This supports Dunn's (1988) finding that African American males do not invest in college because they desire "quick money." The earnings differential between African American males and females may also explain the degree attainment gap, as it is the African American females with a bachelor's degree that earn significantly more than African American males with some college. Copyright © 2009 by Emerald Group Publishing Limited.
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