Newly released data from the U.S. Census Bureau has revealed that male college enrollment has been on the decline for a decade — with male students making up just 44% of the current college population, despite making up roughly 49.5% of the current U.S. population.
This statistic has continued to decline, as the data from 2011 showed that men were 47% of the college population.
A Pew Research Center analysis of the U.S. Census Bureau data also revealed that the number of high school graduates enrolling in college has continued to decline despite the fact that the rate of high school graduates has increased.
Fewer young men are in college because their college enrollment rate has declined since 2011. Only 39% of young men who have completed high school were enrolled in college in 2022, down from 47% in 2011. The gender gap in college enrollment has widened. https://t.co/z7IS7mFk3Z pic.twitter.com/Bp3Y2QkmiS
— Richard Fry (@r_fry1) December 18, 2023
Numerous studies have shown that women have become the majority demographic in college, with many analysts attributing the change in part to a wide variety of scholarships and other enticements specifically aimed at women. Colleges have also become increasingly hostile toward men in recent years with the rise in third-wave feminism and “woke” ideology.
Meanwhile, a 2021 study from Pew Research showed that men were less likely to attend college because of a lack of interest in doing so or a belief that they did not need more education for their career or trade.
It has become clear in recent years that Americans’ feelings about higher education have shifted, with a Gallup poll showing that the percentage of young adults who value a college degree as very important dropped from 74% to 41% over the past decade. The same poll revealed that only one-third of young adults have confidence in a college degree.
The COVID pandemic also had a negative effect on college attendance, although undergraduate enrollment did increase by 2.1% in fall 2023.
Many have also cited the student loan crisis as a financial reason to avoid college, as some believe that receiving a college degree often costs more in debt than it ends up adding in worth to a career. As the Washington Examiner noted, “As the student loan crisis has made financial decisions more financially challenging for students entering the workforce with a large debt burden, some students are questioning the necessity of the degree.”