Nonmetro education levels are improving, but still lag metro

Educational attainment for adults age 25 and older, 2000 and 2019

Historically, nonmetro areas in the United States have lagged behind metro areas in educational attainment, but they are catching up. The share of adults with high school and college degrees in nonmetro areas rose over the 2000s. However, in 2019, nonmetro areas still faced a gap compared with metro areas in the share of adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher—21 percent versus 35 percent. One explanation may be the higher pay more highly-educated workers can often earn in metropolitan labor markets.

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