Wednesday, January 27, 2016

A Brief Profile of Utah’s Educational Attainment

Mark Knold, Supervising Economist


Every calendar quarter the Workforce Research and Analysis team puts together its Local Insights summary. The term “local” means analyzing data down to the county level. Local Insights is a combination of producing a local snapshot of the county consisting of its current labor market variables, statistics, and narrative summation, and then adding to this a “feature article” in blog form centered upon some common theme the team of economists choose. Oftentimes this theme will be prompted by a new economic data release. For this quarter (first quarter 2016) that release is the most recent U.S. Census Bureau county-level demographic profile through its American Community Survey. The economists chose to look at that survey’s educational attainments of Utah’s resident county populations.

Although the data go as deep as the county level, statewide data are also available. Highlights of Utah’s statewide educational attainment (for the population 25 years and older) are as follows:

• 91 percent of Utah’s population has graduated from high school, compared with 86 percent across the entire nation.

 • In Utah, 68 percent have achieved some schooling beyond just a high school diploma, compared to 58 percent nationally. When dissecting this down to the male and female level, this 10-percentage point advantage over the national average still holds.

• Utah has higher percentages of Associate’s and Bachelor’s degree achievements than the nation, but slightly less Advanced degree achievement than the nation.

 • Females have achieved slightly more education beyond high school graduation than have Utah males.

 • Utah males though have achieved nearly double the amount of Advanced degrees than have Utah females.

• Females have achieved a noticeably higher quantity of Associate’s degrees than have Utah males. The Bachelor’s degree comparison is fairly even.

• Utah’s veteran population is better educated than the national average. Only 9 percent have less than a high school education compared with 14 percent nationally. 68 percent have some schooling beyond a high school degree compared to 58 percent nationally.

• Attaining more education corresponds with having a lower unemployment rate. In Utah, those with less than a high school diploma have an 11 percent unemployment rate. With a high school diploma, 8 percent. Some college no degree, 5 percent, and with a bachelor’s degree or higher, 3 percent. All of these unemployment rates are lower than the corresponding national averages. 

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