There is ample evidence that the strength of a country’s economy is intrinsically linked to its expenditure on education and school participation rates. If that is so, the United States, once an education powerhouse, is seeing its advantages – the ones that powered the nation to its position as the world’s biggest and most dominant economy – being eroded over the past decade.
In fact, the signs are there to show that it’s falling behind quite badly. In the second half of the 20th century, the United States was the global leader in education, supplying the largest number highly qualified people in its adult labor force of any country in the world. But it has since fallen to 10th place in the rankings when it comes to the proportions of younger adults aged 25 to 34 who have an associate’s degree or higher. By 2020, the U.S. proportion of that global talent pool will shrink further as economic powerhouses China and India, with their enormous populations, rapidly expand their secondary and higher education systems. In fact, if the U.S. high school graduation rate remains flat and China continues on its current path, China will be graduating a higher proportion of students from high school within a decade.
Already the top performers in education are in Asia – Shanghai and Hong Kong leads the way, followed by Singapore, South Korea, and Japan. This infographic from DegreeMatch.org shows us some of the numbers behind America’s stagnant or declining education statistics and how that is likely to adversely impact its current position as the world’s biggest, strongest economy:
[Infographic credit: DegreeMatch.org]