It makes sense that higher levels of educational attainment should contribute to a higher quality of living. Higher education in Utah typically leads to better employment prospects and higher income, as the following illustrations demonstrate. The data come from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Communities Survey (ACS 1-year estimates) and Local Employment and Household Dynamics (LEHD) programs.
Figure 1 displays the Utah annual unemployment rate by educational attainment. The more advanced one’s educational attainment, the less likely they will be unemployed. In 2012, the annual average unemployment rate among those with a less than a high school diploma was 11.4 percent and 7.1 percent for those with a high school diploma (or equivalent) only. For those who had at least some college experience, their average unemployment rate was below the total statewide average rate of unemployment, which was 5.7 percent in 2012. People who had either an associate degree or some college experience had an annual average unemployment rate of 5.3 percent. Those who had at least a bachelor’s degree enjoyed the lowest average unemployment rate at 2.9 percent.
The income picture, too, was better for those with higher degrees of educational attainment. According to LEHD, those with at least a bachelor’s degree enjoyed significantly higher annual incomes (on average $58,500 annually) than those with less than a bachelor’s degree. In 2012, the income difference between each of the lower three educational attainment categories was about $6,000. On the other hand, the annual income difference between some college/associate degree wage earners and bachelor’s degree holders was over $20,000.