The Country’s Education Rate

It’s no great surprise that there’s a big difference between the earnings of people who went to college and people who didn’t. According to the latest available data, the average high-school graduate earns $25,900 a year while the average college graduate earns much more, $45,400 annually. Increasingly, however, it looks like educated people are clustering in a few places while people without bachelor’s degrees populate the rest of the country.

According to a piece in the Daily Yonder, a blog about rural issues:

The United States is segregating by education. Americans are better educated now than ever, but the distribution of people with college degrees is growing increasingly unequal.

And the clustering of people with higher education is creating greater disparities in regional incomes and unemployment. The places with high percentages of educated adults do better economically than do the counties with low proportions of adults with B.A. degrees. Better educated populations have higher incomes and lower unemployment. In general, rural areas are falling behind the cities in terms of the percent of their adult populations with at least a college (B.A.) degree.

What’s more, the country is apparently growing a lot more segregated by education. This is a 20-year old map of the United States:

19901.jpg

And here’s the country today [sic]:

20101.jpg

(Images from the Daily Yonder article.) Over time, more and more of the country seems to fall behind the national education average.

Of course, this is just land, not citizens. Since educated people tend to congregate in cities, the dark blue areas of the country, representing counties with larger portions of educated people, reflect a small area of land and a great deal of people.

Still, as the United States increasingly seems interested in discussing the importance of getting more people through college, it’s odd to note that most of the land in this country is actually occupied by a rather poorly educated population of people.

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer