We asked: “The unemployment rate for 24-to-34-year-olds without a four-year college degree is 7 percent. What do you think it is for 25-to-34-year-olds with a four-year college degree?” More than half of the respondents thought that the jobless rate for college graduates was higher.
We were becoming convinced that this was a real misunderstanding, not a flaw in the surveys, each of which was run by Google, each with over 1,000 respondents. A report by the Pew Research Center found that the results from Google’s surveys are typically quite similar to the results from Pew’s telephone surveys.
Are we — the news media — to blame? Many articles have been written in recent years questioning the value of college: about unemployed college graduates living at home, technological change replacing the demand for college graduates and overeducated college graduates who end up being either unemployed or underemployed. Our survey results suggest that articles like these have really taken hold with the public.