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The 2006 Census confirmed that higher education is a gateway to higher earnings, as did all previous censuses. For men and women of all ages, full-time full-year earners with a university degree earned substantially more than their counterparts who did not have a high school diploma.
Young men aged 25 to 34 who had a registered trades or apprenticeship received median earnings of $39,855. This was more than $8,000 higher than median earnings among their counterparts who did not have a high school diploma.
Young men in this age group who had a bachelor's degree had median earnings of $50,506, while those with a post-bachelor's degree had even higher median earnings, at $54,686.
Similarly, median earnings of young women with a bachelor's degree or a post-bachelor's degree surpassed those of their counterparts with no high school diploma by more than $20,000. Young women with a registered trades or apprenticeship earned about $3,800 more than young women with no high school diploma, whose median earnings amounted to $20,943.
The numbers above focus on full-time full-year earners and thus, do not take into account the fact that employment rates of less educated individuals are generally much lower than those of other individuals. As a result, they underestimate the earnings differences between highly educated workers and their less educated counterparts.
The 2006 Census also showed that disparities in earnings between individuals with no high school diploma and those with a bachelor's degree or more were, in absolute terms, even more pronounced among older workers.
For instance, median earnings of women aged 45 to 54 with a bachelor's degree or a post‑bachelor's degree surpassed those of their counterparts with no high school diploma by more than $30,000.
While workers with a university degree generally earn more than their less educated counterparts, Census data showed that, for men and women of most ages, median earnings grew, if at all, at a very similar pace in both groups between 2000 and 2005.