College degree gap widens between cities and rural America
SRDC's Roberto Gallardo and the Daily Yonder collaborated in a study to measure the changes in educational achievement over the last 40 years. In many ways, rural America has caught up with the rest of the United States in terms of educational achievement. But over the past 40 years, the gap in the percentage of adults with college degrees has increased between urban and rural counties.
Despite a near three-fold increase in the percentage of rural adults who have college degrees, the gap in bachelor degrees between the cities and rural America has widened between 1970 and 2010. In 1970, there was a 6-point difference between urban and rural counties in the percent of people over 25 years of age who had college degrees. (Rural stood at 5.7 percent; urban was 11.6 percent.) By 2010, the gap was nearly 15 points.
The loss of young, well-educated residents is a long-standing problem for rural communities.
"'One of the problems that rural areas face is that in order to get a college education, young people have to leave," says Judith Stallman, an economist at the University of Missouri. "Once you leave, that introduces you to other opportunities that you might not have seen had you not left."
The good news for rural America is that it has caught up in every other measure of education.
To view the full article and corresponding data graphs, visit Daily Yonder .
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