The Most- and Least-Educated U.S. Metro Areas

Q. What percentage of 25-to-34-year-old residents of the USA hold a college degree?
A. 30.5% (34% for women and 27% for men).

But, as you’d expect, it varies wildly from place to place.

I’ve delved into the data on educational-attainment in the USA’s 100 largest metropolitan areas. Here it is:

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Scranton: Uneducated Backwater?
This discussion has been moved to its own post.
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Least Educated Metro Areas
In the entire dataset of 953 Census-defined metropolitan and micropolitan areas, we find, at the bottom of the list, places where having a degree is rare indeed. Here are the bottom-20 for the entire USA.


Percent of 25-34-Year-Olds Holding a College Degree

Metro/Micro Area Total Males Females
Okeechobee, FL Micro Area 7.2% 4.3% 11.6%
Forrest City, AR Micro Area 7.0% 4.7% 10.1%
Summerville, GA Micro Area 6.9% 7.3% 6.3%
Clewiston, FL Micro Area 6.6% 4.9% 10.3%
Arcadia, FL Micro Area 6.6% 3.5% 14.6%
Henderson, NC Micro Area 6.3% 4.3% 8.1%
Deming, NM Micro Area 6.2% 6.3% 6.2%
Dillon, SC Micro Area 6.2% 3.6% 8.5%
North Vernon, IN Micro Area 6.2% 4.7% 7.6%
The Villages, FL Micro Area 6.2% 4.4% 9.2%
La Follette, TN Micro Area 6.1% 6.2% 6.0%
Connersville, IN Micro Area 6.0% 5.2% 6.8%
Hereford, TX Micro Area 5.5% 4.2% 6.7%
Pecos, TX Micro Area 5.3% 5.8% 4.7%
Wauchula, FL Micro Area 5.0% 1.7% 11.9%
Pierre Part, LA Micro Area 4.8% 1.3% 8.3%
Pahrump, NV Micro Area 4.7% 2.2% 7.1%
Beeville, TX Micro Area 4.1% 2.7% 8.0%
Raymondville, TX Micro Area 2.6% 2.6% 2.6%
Tallulah, LA Micro Area 1.8% 1.1% 2.4%
Metro/Micro Area Total Males Females

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Down here at the bottom we get the extremes. I’m not sure why. Observe:

Lopsided Female-Male Ratios
In 92.4% of all metro areas, a higher share of young females than young males hold degrees. In the USA as a whole, it is 34% to 27%.

Down here at the bottom of the list, we find:
Wauchula, Florida (Females: 11.9% Males: 1.7%), and
Pierre Part, Louisiana (Females: 8.3%, Males: 1.3). The places with the second and third most-lopsided female-male college-education ratio.
– The place with the most-lopsided female-male degree ratio in the USA is Canon City, Colorado (#920/953 in overall degree-%): Females: 24.5%, Males: 3.3%. What could possibly explain this?

Places Where Young Males are More Educated than Young Females
– I wonder what is special about Summerville, Georgia and Pecos, Texas? They have noticeably-higher shares of young-male degree-holders than young-female degree-holders.
– In only 7.6% of all metro-/micro-areas in the USA, the % of young males with degrees is higher than the % of young females with degrees. But down here at the bottom of the list, it is reasonably common:
– In the bottom-50 (in terms of overall degree-holding-%), 11 metros [22%] have a higher male-% than female-%. Why would the most uneducated places be more likely to have more educated males than females?
–In the 100 most-populous metros in the USA (i.e. the long chart at the beginning of this post), there are only 2 that have a higher male-% than female-% in degree-holding: Ogden-Clearfield, Utah and Provo-Orem, Utah.

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7 Responses to The Most- and Least-Educated U.S. Metro Areas

  1. Pingback: Boise vs. Scranton, Who Is More Educated? | Hail To You

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    There’s a moderate negative correlation between the top 100 list of big metro areas and the default rate on mortgages. Among 91-100, 7 or 8 had very high default rates as of the end of 2008 (i.e., their defaults helped cause the recession more than the recession caused their defaults).

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