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To what degree do we have degrees?

Bachelor’s degrees grow more common every year. The Census Bureau estimates, as of 2015, that 32.5% of the U.S. population 25 years or older have at least a bachelor’s degree. Yet, the GeoFRED map shows that the percentages of the vast majority of counties are lower than the national average: Almost 90% of counties are at 29.5% or less.

Looking at the regions with the highest and lowest percentages can give us some important insights. The southern U.S. claims 9 of the bottom 20 counties, which goes up to 16 of 20 if we include Kentucky and Texas. Loving County, Texas, has the lowest percentage: With a population of 112, it has only 3.7% with at least a bachelor’s degree. The top 20 counties are spread throughout the country, 7 of which are from the state of Virginia: Falls Church City and Arlington County, respectively, have 72.8% and 71.2% with at least a bachelor’s degree. This above-average cluster around Washington D.C. is home to many Fortune 500 companies and multiple federal government agencies, including the Department of Defense’s main base of operation, the Pentagon.

How the graph was created: The original post referenced an interactive map from our now discontinued GeoFRED site. The revised post provides a replacement map from FRED’s new mapping tool. To create FRED maps, go to the data series page in question and look for the green “VIEW MAP” button at the top right of the graph. See this post for instructions to edit a FRED map. Only series with a green map button can be mapped.

Suggested by Joshua Berry

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