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The Consequences of Low Literacy Skills

  • Massachusetts workers with limited education face exceptionally high unemployment.
  • Nearly 20 percent of those lacking a high school diploma or GED and 12 percent of residents with just a high school degree were unemployed in 2010; in comparison, unemployment was just 5.5 percent for bachelor’s degree holders and 3 percent for those with a master’s or higher degree.
  • Households headed by high school dropouts lost nearly 30 percent of their median income between 1999 and 2010; income fell by 16 percent for households with just a high school degree or GED.
  • The median incomes of families in Massachusetts range from a low of $19,790 for female-headed families without a high school diploma, to almost $50,000 for male-headed families with a high school diploma.

Andy Sum, Ishwar Khatiwada, Joseph McLaughlin, Mykhaylo Trub’skyy, Sheila Palma, Recapturing the American Dream: Meeting the Challenges of the Bay State’s Lost Decade, <http://www.massinc.org/Research> (December 14, 2011)

Related Resources

City of Lawrence


Massachusetts Coalition for Adult Education (MCAE)