The Recent Decline in College-Going Among Black Americans

Juliana de Castro Galvao, Samuel Neylon, Christopher Maggio and Paul Attewell. (forthcoming)


Black enrollment in higher education grew steadily throughout the second half of the 20th century and continued to expand until 2010, a driving force behind the growth of the Black middle class (Landry 1987, 2018). After 2010, however, this long upward trend reversed. As we document below, the number of Black undergraduates enrolling in college has fallen year after year since 2010 and is now 9% below its peak (a decline of about 202,000 Black students), too large and too sustained a decline to be dismissed as a temporary blip. This paper investigates why the number of Black students enrolling in college has fallen and considers whether this trend threatens the economic future of the Black community.

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