A report from the Census Bureau says that from 2002 to 2012, the highest rate of increases in education attainment levels were doctorate and master's degrees.
The population with a doctorate grew by about 1 million, or 45 percent, while those who held a master's climbed by 5 million, or 43 percent.
The population with an associate degree rose by 5 million, or 31 percent. Those whose highest degree was a bachelor's degree grew at a smaller rate: 25 percent to 41 million. The number of people without a high school or GED diploma declined by 13 percent falling to 25 million.
The numbers also show that education continues to pay off. In 2011, the average earnings for people 25 and older with a bachelor's degree was $59,415. Compare that with people with only a high school diploma who earned $32,493.
These statistics come from the Current Population Survey's Annual Social and Economic Supplement, which is at about 100,000 addresses nationwide each year.