Objectives: To evaluate the prospective interrelationship of smoking, alcohol intake, marijuana use, and educational and occupational attainment of Black and White young adults. Methods: Logistic or mixed model linear regression were used to evaluate relationships between self-reported substance use, ethnicity, gender, college graduation, and four measures of occupational attainment. Results: College graduation in the next 10 years was negatively associated with smoking and marijuana use, but not daily alcohol consumption in all ethnic and gender groups. In Whites, marijuana use was associated with less prestigious occupations and lower family income, while smoking was unrelated and moderate daily drinking was positively associated. In Blacks, marijuana use was generally unrelated to occupational measures, while smoking and daily alcohol consumption were negatively associated. Conclusions: Relationships between smoking, marijuana use, daily drinking, and occupational attainment were not universally negative in this age group. Substance use, particularly smoking, is associated with reduced occupational attainment in Blacks compared with Whites after considering sociodemographic factors potentially limiting educational progression and occupational attainment. Copyright (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd.