That matters because education reaps big benefits: lower rates on crime, obesity and smoking; better overall health and wellbeing; higher income; and increased economic development in communities, to start with. "Studies show that differences in educational attainment account for roughly one-third of the difference in economic growth between counties in metro and non-metro areas, as fewer jobs are being created in areas that have less well-educated workforces," Florida reports.
|Percent of college graduates by type of county (CityLab chart)|
"The first thing that jumps out: There is not as much variation in the geography of college grads across urban and rural place as you might think," Florida reports. "While in counties within large and medium metros, a higher percentage of the workforce is college grads than in rural ones; in large rural counties that are not adjacent to a major metro, college grads make up a greater share of the population than they do in urban counties that are a part of a small metro. The only places that truly lag on their share of college grads are small and medium-size rural counties that are adjacent to metro areas.