May 8, 2013
Gen-Xers Continue Formal Education Efforts Later In Life
redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online
More than one-tenth of Generation X-ers are currently taking classes to continue their formal post-secondary educations, and nearly half of them are participating in continuing education courses or certification training workshops, according to a new University of Michigan study released on Tuesday.
Of the approximately 80 million individuals born during the post-Baby Boom period (typically from the late 1960s through the 1980s), 1.8 million are studying to earn associate degrees and 1.7 million are working on their bachelor degrees, according to the Generation X Report. In addition, nearly two million of them are working on masters, doctoral or other advanced degree studies, researchers from the Ann Arbor university explained.
Furthermore, according to lead author Jon D. Miller, slightly more than 40 percent of Generation X members have earned at least a baccalaureate degree, and those living in suburbs or cities are more likely to have reached that level of education than those living in small towns or rural areas.
It also discovered that this generation has been earning graduate and professional degrees at a higher rate than any American generation that came before them. As of 2011, some two decades after they finished high school, 22 percent of those polled said that had completed at least one advanced degree.
Furthermore, 10 percent of them had completed a doctorate or other professional degree.
“This is an impressive level of engagement in lifelong learning,” Miller said in a statement. “It reflects the changing realities of a global economy, driven by science and technology.”
The report´s findings are the results of the Longitudinal Study of American Youth (LSAY), a National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded report that included responses from nearly 4,000 participants in their late thirties. The research was conducted by Miller at the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research (ISR).
In addition, the report looked at how members of Generation X utilized “informal sources of learning” to acquire information about important contemporary events. Three specific news stories were featured for this part of the study — influenza, global warming, and the accident at the Fukushima nuclear reactor in Japan.
“We found that Generation X adults use a mix of information sources, including traditional print and electronic media, as well as the internet and social media,” Miller said. “But for all three issues we examined, we found that talking with friends and family was cited as a source of information more frequently than traditional news media.”
“While a high proportion of young adults are continuing their formal education, reflecting the changing demands of a global economy, many are also using the full resources of their personal networks and the electronic era to keep up with information on emerging issues,” he added.