Remember back in 1870? No? Well, pretend you do.

Back then, it felt like you never heard about college kids. That’s because postsecondary students made up only 0.1% of the American population. These days, it’s 7%.

Postsecondary enrollment (since 1870)

The biggest decade-to-decade jump coincides with Vietnam, and with the baby boom generation hitting college age. So no surprises there. The recent recession has seen a boost in postsecondary enrollment, too.

Source: National Center of Education Statistics

Disclaimer: We’re talking not just about “college” students, but all students in postsecondary programs, including 2-year degrees and postbaccalaureate degrees. Also, 2020 numbers are obviously projections.

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