Education

Rural Achievement Mostly Better Than 40 Years Ago

By Diette Courrégé Casey — April 10, 2012 1 min read

Rural Americans have improved their educational attainment during the past 40 years, but the gap between rural and urban areas for residents with college degrees is growing, according to new analysis by rural advocates.

Additionally, rural areas are seeing an increasing percentage of residents who only have a high school diploma, while the rest of the country is seeing a decrease in that percentage.

The Daily Yonder and the Southern Rural Development Center at Mississippi State University worked together on a project that looked at how rural America achievement has changed in the past four decades. They found rural areas have made progress according to many measures, such as the percentage of residents who obtained some sort of post-secondary education (up from 7.8 percent in 1970 to 27.4 percent in 2010, according to the article) and the percentage of adults with less than a high school education (down from 59.4 percent in 1970 to 18.9 percent in 2010).

But they point out a couple of areas where statistics aren’t in rural communities’ favor, specifically the widening gap between rural and urban areas for the percentage of adults with college degrees. Rural areas have improved that percentage to 15.4, but they’re further behind the national average (27.9 percent) and urban areas (30 percent) than they’ve been in the past 40 years.

Rural areas also have a growing percentage of residents who only have a high school diploma (38.3 percent), while that figure generally is declining for the country (29 percent). That gap is wider now than it’s been in 40 years, according to their figures.

Those numbers make sense when compared with our previous reports on how rural areas trail the national average for their college enrollment rates. Only 27 percent of their students enrolling in college compared with 34 percent nationally.

The joint project didn’t delve into the “whys” behind the statistics, but its authors promised to do so in the future.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Rural Education blog.

Let us know what you think!

We’re looking for feedback on our new site to make sure we continue to provide you the best experience.

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Future of Work Webinar
Digital Literacy Strategies to Promote Equity
Our new world has only increased our students’ dependence on technology. This makes digital literacy no longer a “nice to have” but a “need to have.” How do we ensure that every student can navigate
Content provided by Learning.com
Mathematics Online Summit Teaching Math in a Pandemic
Attend this online summit to ask questions about how COVID-19 has affected achievement, instruction, assessment, and engagement in math.
School & District Management Webinar Examining the Evidence: Catching Kids Up at a Distance
As districts, schools, and families navigate a new normal following the abrupt end of in-person schooling this spring, students’ learning opportunities vary enormously across the nation. Access to devices and broadband internet and a secure

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Data Analyst
New York, NY, US
New Visions for Public Schools
Project Manager
United States
K12 Inc.
High School Permanent Substitute Teacher
Woolwich Township, NJ, US
Kingsway Regional School District
MS STEM Teacher
Woolwich Township, NJ, US
Kingsway Regional School District

Read Next

Education Obituary In Memory of Michele Molnar, EdWeek Market Brief Writer and Editor
EdWeek Market Brief Associate Editor Michele Molnar, who was instrumental in launching the publication, succumbed to cancer.
5 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: December 9, 2020
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: Stories You May Have Missed
A collection of articles from the previous week that you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: Stories You May Have Missed
A collection of stories from the previous week that you may have missed.
8 min read