WASHINGTON (Reuters) - For the first time, more than 30 percent of Americans over 25 have at least a bachelor's degree, the Census Bureau said on Thursday, in figures that showed those with more education fared better during the recession's hefty job cuts.
Some 61 million Americans over 25, or 30.4 percent, had either bachelor's, master's, professional or doctoral degrees in March 2011, up from 26.4 percent in 2001, the bureau said in a statement.
As recently as 1998, less than one-quarter of people this age had that level of education, it said. The 2011 figure includes people who studied for a master's degree but did not get one.
People with a bachelor's degree had lower rates of joblessness than those with less education in every month from January 2008 to December 2010, which included all but one month of the recent recessions, the bureau said.
The number of Hispanics with at least a bachelor's showed a particularly big increase, jumping to 3.8 million in 2011 from 2.1 million a decade before.
The percentage of Hispanics with a bachelor's degree or higher education rose to 14.1 percent in 2011 from 11.1 percent in 2001.
(Reporting By Ian Simpson; Editing by Paul Thomasch)