10 of the Least Educated Cities in America

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Some individuals say college just isn’t “for” them. Maybe they work in a trade that doesn’t require a college-level education, or perhaps they feel that the benefits of going to college at that point in life don’t outweigh the costs.

If college was in the cards for everyone, everyone would attend, and have a degree. Unfortunately, there are economic considerations, socioeconomic factors, and individual considerations — like preferences, health, and well-being — that every person takes into consideration before making any career decision. And for the most part, that’s what college is: a career decision.

This is not to say it is impossible for anyone to go out and get a degree. But for some, it is certainly much more of a challenge. This is evident in college degree attainment statistics. According to a White House publication, “while half of all people from high-income families have a bachelor’s degree by age 25, just 1 in 10 people from low-income families do.”

Many of the least educated cities are lower-income areas, as well. Using data from research site FindTheBest, we’ve created a list of the least educated cities and metropolitan areas. That is, these cities and metros have the lowest bachelor’s degree attainment rates. We’ve also included a bit of income information for each of the included cities.

 

Least educated small cities (population of 10,000 to 100,000)

10. Immokalee, Florida: 3.5% bachelor’s degree attainment rate
“Approximately 47.6% of Immokalee’s population lives in a low income household, or a household with an annual income of less than $25,000,” as reported by FindTheBest. Only around 1% of the population here lives in a household that earns more than $150,000.

9. Farmersville, California: 3.5% bachelor’s degree attainment rate
Around one-third (35.2%) of the population lives in a low-income household, and only around 1% lives in a household with an income of more than $150,000.

8. Cudahy, California: 3.5% bachelor’s degree attainment rate
Around 30% of the population lives in a low-income household, and only 1.6% live in a household at the highest income level (over $150,000).

7. Florence-Graham, California: 3.3% bachelor’s degree attainment rate
Around 35% of the population lives in a low-income household, and only 1.2% live in a higher-income household.

6. Arvin, California: 3.3% bachelor’s degree attainment rate
Around 37% of the population lives in a low-income household, and less than 1% live in a household that earns at least $150,000.

5. Soledad, California: 3.2% bachelor’s degree attainment rate
Around 21% of the population lives in a low-income household, which is similar to low-income figures across the United States. Only 5% live at the highest (over $150,000) income level, compared to nearly 10% of nationwide residents who live at the highest income level across the country.

4. Corcoran, California: 3.1% bachelor’s degree attainment rate
Around 37% of the population lives in a low-income household, and 3.4% live in a household that earns at least $150,000.

3. Lamont, California: 2% bachelor’s degree attainment rate
Around one-third (34.1%) of the population lives in a low-income household, and only around 1.6% live at the highest income level.

2. Eidson Road, Texas: 1.8% bachelor’s degree attainment rate
Nearly half (46.8%) of the population lives in a low-income household, and just more than 1% live at the highest income level.

1. Mendota, California: 1.6% bachelor’s degree attainment rate
More than half (50.9%) of the population lives in a low-income household, which is nearly double the national rate.

 

The least educated metropolitan areas (population of more than 100,000)

10. Vineland, New Jersey metro area: There is a 14% bachelor’s degree attainment rate, and with only 14% of adults being bachelor’s degree holders, the attainment rate here is less than half of the national average rate. Roughly one in four Vineland residents live in a low-income household (that is, a household with an annual income of less than $25,000). In the United states, the portion of residents who live at this income level is about the same (one in four).

9. Madera, California metro area: There is 13.9% bachelor’s degree attainment rate, and roughly one in four residents live in a low-income household.

8. Morristown, Tennessee metro area: There is a 13.8% bachelor’s degree attainment rate. Roughly one-third of the population here lives in a low-income household.

7. Visalia, California, metro area: Here, the rate of bachelor’s degree attainment is 13.3%, and 27.6% of residents live in a household with a low income.

6. El Centro, California metro: There is a 13.2% bachelor’s degree attainment rate. One in three residents here live in a low-income household.

5. Odessa, Texas metro: The bachelor’s degree attainment rate is 13.2%, and around one in four residents live in a low-income household.

4. Dalton, Georgia, metro area: The rate of bachelor’s degree attainment is 12.9%. More than 30% of the population here lives in a low-income household.

3. Merced, California metro: There is a 12.5% bachelor’s degree attainment rate, and 28.5% of residents live in a low-income household.

2. Hanford, California metro: The bachelor’s degree attainment rate is 12.4%. Around 24% of residents live in a low-income household.

1. Lake Havasu City, Arizona metro: Only 12.2% of adults are bachelor’s degree holders, and more than 30% of the population here lives in a low-income household. This metropolitan area has the lowest bachelor’s degree attainment rate among all large metropolitan areas evaluated in the FindTheBest database.

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