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USDA ERS: Educational attainment increasing in rural America

USDA's Economic Research Service releases bulletin on state of rural education.

Rural Americans are increasingly educated, according to a "Rural Education At A Glance" bulletin released earlier this month by USDA's Economic Research Service.

Among the findings:

  • In 2015, 15% of rural Americans age 25 and older did not have a high school diploma, according to data attained from the U.S. Census Bureau. That number is down from 56% in 1970.
  • Nearly 3 out of 10 rural adults now have an associate's degree or higher.
  • In 2015, 19% of rural adults had a bachelor's degree, compared to 33% of urban adults.
  • Rural women are becoming more educated than rural men. From 2000 to 2015, the share of rural women with bachelor's degrees grew by 5 percentage points, while the number with associate's degrees grew by 4 percentage points. The numbers for rural men are 3 percentage points for a bachelor's degree and 2 percentage points for an associate's degree.
  • Racial and ethnic minorities comprise an increasing share of the rural population without a high school diploma.
  • Rural counties with the lowest levels of educational attainment face higher poverty, unemployment and population loss. Educational attainment is lowest in the rural South.


USDA, Economic Research Service

Source: USDA ERS



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