Education Levels Rise In Rural America

Oct 29, 2018

In the 1960s, roughly 60 percent of rural adults had not completed high school. That’s according to new research from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which suggests rural America today looks very different.

According to the report, Rural Education at a Glance, the share of rural adults with less than a high school diploma or equivalent decreased from 24 percent in 2000, to just 14 percent in 2016. That drop has helped narrow the education gap with urban America, where just 12 percent of adults haven’t completed high school.

The study also suggested that the share of rural Americans with a bachelor's degree is much lower compared to in cities, and that gap has grown in the last 18 years. But that may be due to something known as the “brain drain.” Cities can offer more competitive salaries for workers with college degrees. Therefore rural students who go to college may choose to live and work in the city after graduation.