Map shows huge differences in educational attainment across U.S.
West Virginia and Mississippi are at the bottom of the educational attainment table and Massachusetts is the state with the highest share of Bachelor's degree holders - beaten only by the District of Columbia
From a young age, Frank was fascinated by maps and atlases, and the stories they contained. Finding his birthplace on the map in the endpapers of Tolkien's Lord of the Rings only increased his interest in the mystery and message of maps.
While pursuing a career in journalism, Frank started a blog called Strange Maps, as a repository for the weird and wonderful cartography he found hidden in books, posing as everyday objects and (of course) floating around the Internet.
"Each map tells a story, but the stories told by your standard atlas for school or reference are limited and literal: they show only the most practical side of the world, its geography and its political divisions. Strange Maps aims to collect and comment on maps that do everything but that - maps that show the world from a different angle".
A remit that wide allows for a steady, varied diet of maps: Frank has been writing about strange maps since 2006, published a book on the subject in 2009 and joined Big Think in 2010. Readers send in new material daily, and he keeps bumping in to cartography that is delightfully obscure, amazingly beautiful, shockingly partisan, and more.
In 2000, just 26% of adult Americans aged 25 and older had a Bachelor's degree (or higher). By 2015, the share of Americans 25 and over with a college or university degree had risen to just under a third. This year, it's reached 34%.
Educational attainment may be rising fast in the U.S., but it's spread unevenly. There is a slight gender imbalance: more women than men have at least a Bachelor's degree (35% vs. 34%). And a marked racial distinction, with 55% of Asian Americans aged 25 and older having Bachelor's degree or higher.
But the variation is also geographic, as this map (based on 2016 data) shows.
- The District of Columbia is the best-educated part of the country: 56.8% of its residents have at least a Bachelor's degree.
- Second is Massachusetts, with 42.7%. While a lot of dark blue clusters on the East Coast, the third-highest score is for Colorado, way out west: 39.9%.
- Worst-scoring state is West Virginia, where just 20.8% of the residents 25 and older have at least a Bachelor's degree. That's just over a third of the share of Bachelor's degree holders in DC.
- The Mountain State is marginally outperformed by Mississippi, where 21.8% have completed a college or university education.
Educational attainment is linked to income. In 2016, the average median income as divided per highest attained degree was as follows:
- $27,800 – didn't finish high school
- $36,700 – high school or equivalent
- $67,300 – Bachelor's degree
- $95,200 – advanced degree
Strange Maps #907
Got a strange map? Let me know at email@example.com.
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