February 26, 2016

STUDIES LIKE THIS — NEVER VERY GOOD — SEEM TO GET WORSE IN ELECTION YEARS, AND ALWAYS IN THE SAME DIRECTION: Student loans aren’t racist.

A new study purports to show that student loan debt is racist, because areas with higher concentrations of minorities have higher levels of debt.

As with any study claiming that correlation equals oppression, this one has some flaws. One big one, in fact. The bigger reason minorities have more student loan delinquency, which the study’s authors even acknowledge, is that more of them choose lower-paying majors. For example, according to the linked chart from Georgetown University, the field with the second-largest concentration of black majors is Human Services/Community Organization. It may be a noble calling — it’s something President Obama believed in — but it’s also the major that promises the second-lowest payday of all the majors black students tend to choose. Also ranking near the top: Sociology, social work, public administration, and interdisciplinary social sciences — all fine things to study, but none of them promise especially high-paying careers.

Choice of field is one of the leading causes of the gender wage gap as well. Women dominate nine of the top 10 lowest-paying fields while men dominate nine of the top-10 highest-paying fields.

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