A listener in Poland recently sent us an e-mail. Slawek Loboda writes: "There are many American universities and colleges that provide long distance education to the world. The trouble is that each university says that it is the best. After an hour of searching and reading what they have in their offer, one gets a headache. You simply don't know whom to trust and what to choose."
The United States has more than four thousand colleges and universities to choose from. They come in all sizes from a few hundred students to enough to populate a city. And students may not even have to be in the United States to take classes. Some universities have campuses in other countries. And, as Slawek pointed out, many programs are offered over the Internet
Over the coming weeks, we will talk all about the American system of higher education. Our reports will take you inside some of the nation's colleges and universities. We will explore programs of study and report on student life. We will talk about financial aid and employment, and about admissions tests and English language requirements.
Personal income is an individual's total earnings from wages, investment interest, and other sources. In the United States the most widely cited personal income statistics are the Bureau of Economic Analysis's personal income and the Census Bureau's per capita money income. The two statistics spring from different traditions of measurement—personal income from national economic accounts and money income from household surveys. BEA's statistics relate personal income to measures of production, including GDP, and is considered an indicator of consumer spending. Census's statistics provide detail on income distribution and demographics and are used to produce the nation's official poverty statistics. Inflation-adjusted per-capita disposable personal income rose steadily in the U.S. from 1945 to 2008, but has since remained generally level.
Of those individuals with income who were older than 15 years of age, slightly under 45% had incomes below $25,000 while the top 10.43% had incomes exceeding $82,500 a year in 2010. The distribution of income among individuals differs substantially from household incomes as 39% of all households had two or more income earners. As a result, 20.4% of households have six figure incomes, even though only 6.61% of Americans had incomes exceeding $100,000 in 2010. The following chart shows the income distribution among all 243,955,000 individuals aged 15 or higher who received income in 2010 as recorded by the United States Census Bureau.