The 2013 U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS) provides information to profile the educational makeup of Utah’s various cities and regions.
Educational attainment is not uniform across Utah’s various metropolitan areas. Neither are the various occupational mixes. Occupations have various levels of educational need; therefore, an area’s occupational mix will regulate a local area’s educational makeup.
A doctor position generally asks for a medical PhD. For my economist positions, I ask for a bachelor’s degree. Someone hiring construction laborers will probably look for high school completion, or less depending on the need. The point is an area’s occupational structure is what builds the area’s educational profile.
For example, the Vernal area’s economic foundation is built upon oil, natural gas and mining type occupations. These are good-paying labor positions, but they generally do not require someone with a bachelor’s degree to fill most positions. They will commonly accept an education level below a four-year undergraduate degree. Therefore, one would expect that the Vernal area would not be over-saturated with people who hold a bachelor’s degree or higher. The occupational mix will not support a large quantity of bachelor degree holders. The ACS data in the figure below shows this to be so.
|Click graph to enlarge|
Logan carries the next highest education percentage due to it hosting a major university, Utah State. The Provo area, which has two universities, also has a high education percentage. The Heber area carries the same distinction as the Park City area, in that it is a high commute community for the close Salt Lake and Provo metropolitan areas.
The remaining areas don’t offer any surprises in their educational percentages. Similar to Vernal, Price is a rural-isolated metropolitan area characterized with mining and power-generation jobs, among others — the majority of which don’t generally require a bachelor’s degree or higher.