Monday, December 7, 2009

A slight detour: rural and urban education

I became so besotted with the ERS and their gigantic stream of data, that I had to go slightly off the topic of farms, to find out about educational statistics, as they pertain to urban and rural America.
Did you know? "urban" and "rural" are hard statistics to operationalize. Which the ERS admits, they have an entire complex county-coding system. I can say, having lived in Montana and Vermont, both states that are considered "rural", that the word can mean very different things in different places.
But with those caveats aside, lets look at our scatterplot:As expected, urban areas have a higher percentage of people with bachelor's degrees (except in Massachusettes, where the rural population is almost non-existent, probably being the population of one resort community or something).
Also, Wyoming has perfect parity. The differences vary, from Virginia, with 5 urban degree holders for every 2 rural, up to states where the difference is almost unnoticable.
As could be expected, there seems to be some regional differences. New England and a chunk of Mountain/Plains states (Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, South Dakota) seem to have the smallest gaps, while the biggest gaps seem to be in Appalachia.

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