7 Surprising Facts About the U.S. Education System


The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) released its latest report on education, highlighting the ever-widening gap between those with high levels of education to those without in overall employment.

Across the OECD member countries, the report shows that the number of unemployed college degree holders increased from 3.3% to 4.8% from 2008 to 2011. For those without a college degree, the percentage shot up from 8.8% to 12.6%. With plenty more surprising statistics, here are the seven most noteworthy stats:

1. U.S. Ranks 5th in College Degree Holders

The United States is ranked 5th in terms of number of college-degree holders amongst the age group of 25 to 64-year-olds. The U.S. is ranked 12th for its 25 to 34-year-olds in that same category.

2. The U.S. Spends the Most On Education

 The U.S. spends the most on education but is far behind countries like South Korea that has the highest number of college-degree holders with 64% of its 25 to 34-year-olds having college degrees as opposed to the 43% of the U.S. for the same age group.

3. There Are 4.3 Million International Students in the World

The number of students getting a college degree outside their country of citizenship worldwide has increased from 0.8 million in 1975 to 4.3 million in 2011.

4. Asia Has the Largest Number Of International Students

Fifty-three percent of these “global” international students come from Asia with the largest number of students coming from China.

5. U.S. Ranks #1 For International Student Hosting

The United States is ranked as the #1 host of international students followed by the United Kingdom in second place with a rising amount of students studying in Australia, New Zealand, and Spain.

6. U.S. Ranks 14th in College Completion Rate

The United States had one of the highest college retention and completion rates in the past but now has fallen to 14th behind Canada, South Korea, and Russia, which have much higher rates of college completion.

7. Only Half Of 3-Year-Olds Are Enrolled in Pre-School in the U.S.

With regards to childhood education, only half of 3-year-olds in the United States were enrolled in preschool in 2011 as opposed to nearly 90% of 3-year-olds in European countries such as France and Norway.