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This Is the Least Educated Metro Area in Georgia

College enrollment has declined steadily in the United States in recent years. With rising tuition costs and surging student debt, enrollment has fallen by an average of nearly 2% a year since 2010. While four years of higher education may not be for everyone, Americans without a bachelor’s degree tend to be far more limited in their career opportunities, job security, and earning potential.

Nationwide, an estimated 33.1% of American adults 25 and older have a bachelor’s degree or higher. Educational attainment rates vary considerably across the country, however, and in nearly every state, there is at least one metro area where the share of adults with a bachelor’s degree is well below the national average.

In the Dalton metro area, located in Georgia, only 15.0% of the adult population have a bachelor’s degree, the smallest share of any metro area in the state. Meanwhile, across Georgia, 32.5% of adults have a bachelor’s degree or higher.


The average weekly wage for a college-educated worker in the United States is about 67% higher than it is for those with no more than a high school diploma — and in places with lower educational attainment, incomes also tend to be lower than average. In the Dalton metro area, the typical household earns $51,967 per year, less than the median household income across Georgia of $61,980.

All data in this story are one-year estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey.

Least educated metro areaAdults with a bachelor’s degree (%)Adults with a bachelor’s degree, statewide (%)Median household income ($)Median household income, statewide ($)
Alabama: Gadsden17.226.341,44751,734
Alaska: Anchorage33.130.280,67675,463
Arizona: Lake Havasu City-Kingman13.530.250,17962,055
Arkansas: Pine Bluff16.423.341,54148,952
California: Visalia13.635.057,69280,440
Colorado: Pueblo23.442.751,27677,127
Connecticut: Norwich-New London33.339.875,63378,833
Delaware: Dover24.533.258,00170,176
Florida: Sebring-Avon Park16.730.748,69859,227
Georgia: Dalton15.032.551,96761,980
Hawaii: Kahului-Wailuku-Lahaina27.733.680,75483,102
Idaho: Twin Falls20.028.756,66760,999
Illinois: Danville12.135.843,11169,187
Indiana: Michigan City-La Porte18.026.956,01957,603
Iowa: Sioux City22.629.360,13261,691
Kansas: Topeka29.134.059,56762,087
Kentucky: Elizabethtown-Fort Knox21.425.155,24652,295
Louisiana: Houma-Thibodaux16.325.049,87451,073
Maine: Lewiston-Auburn25.133.263,81358,924
Maryland: Cumberland19.140.949,72986,738
Massachusetts: Pittsfield33.945.058,89585,843
Michigan: Battle Creek20.230.049,05559,584
Minnesota: St. Cloud26.637.366,07674,593
Mississippi: Gulfport-Biloxi22.722.350,64245,792
Missouri: St. Joseph20.030.250,42557,409
Montana: Great Falls25.633.651,22757,153
Nebraska: Grand Island21.033.255,90763,229
Nevada: Carson City21.325.757,27063,276
New Hampshire: Manchester-Nashua37.837.683,62677,933
New Jersey: Vineland-Bridgeton16.141.254,58785,751
New Mexico: Farmington14.427.744,32151,945
New York: Watertown-Fort Drum22.437.853,91772,108
North Carolina: Rocky Mount17.432.346,46657,341
North Dakota: Bismarck33.430.470,97964,577
Ohio: Springfield16.229.350,12858,642
Oklahoma: Lawton20.526.251,33254,449
Oregon: Grants Pass16.834.547,57367,058
Pennsylvania: Johnstown20.632.349,07663,463
Rhode Island: Providence-Warwick33.234.870,96771,169
South Carolina: Sumter20.129.649,26356,227
South Dakota: Rapid City30.829.758,36159,533
Tennessee: Morristown19.328.747,32656,071
Texas: Odessa15.130.867,20564,034
Utah: St. George27.334.863,59575,780
Vermont: Burlington-South Burlington44.638.774,90963,001
Virginia: Staunton24.239.657,84476,456
Washington: Longview15.337.055,49778,687
West Virginia: Weirton-Steubenville17.521.149,51048,850
Wisconsin: Janesville-Beloit23.231.361,24364,168
Wyoming: Casper20.729.165,03465,003

Samuel Stebbins, 24/7 Wall St. via The Center Square

The Georgia Virtue
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