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George Vlahakis

Carol Rogers

Last modified: Tuesday, May 14, 2002

Latest census data show Indiana's educational attainment higher

NOTE: This is an embargoed news release and the first in a series of releases on 2000 Census results this week. Information contained in this news release is embargoed until 11 a.m. CDT on TUESDAY (MAY 14). Additional information and charts will be placed on the Web site of the Indiana Business Research Center at that time. Copies of relevant charts and tables also can be obtained from the IU Office of Communications and Marketing.

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- An Indiana University analysis of 2000 census data released today (May 14) reveals that 80 percent of Hoosiers age 25 and older are at least high school graduates and that 19.4 percent of them have earned a college bachelor's degree or more.

Staff at IU's Indiana Business Research Center, a key partner in a variety of census programs in Indiana since the 1970s, reported that 17 counties in Indiana exceeded the state's percentage of adults with a college education. Ten years earlier, only 15 counties met the statewide rate of 15.6 percent with a bachelor of arts degree or more.

According to census data released thus far for 13 states, Indiana has the third-lowest level of bachelor's degree or higher attainment. Washington, with a state percentage of 27.7, and California, with a percentage of 26.6, have the highest levels of educational attainment. Two of Indiana's neighbors have a higher percentage of adults with a college education: Illinois with 26.1 percent and Wisconsin with 22.4 percent.

"Interest in this measure is significant because of its close association with earning power," said Carol Rogers, associate director of the IBRC. "Studies by the Census Bureau have shown a direct correlation between earning power and educational attainment. For example, the national average monthly earnings of high school graduates in 1996 were $2,279, compared to $3,767 for persons with a bachelor's degree."

The IBRC, located in IU's Kelley School of Business, reported that Hamilton County is the most educated county, with nearly 50 percent of its adult population with at least a bachelor's degree. Six of the most highly educated counties in Indiana are either part of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Statistical Area or another metropolitan area of the state.

Hamilton County was followed by Monroe County, where 39.6 percent of residents have a bachelor's degree or higher; Tippecanoe County, 33.2 percent; Boone County, 27.6 percent; Marion County, 25.4 percent; St. Joseph County, 23.6 percent; and Hendricks County and Johnson County, 23.1 percent.

The most educated township was Wabash Township in Tippecanoe County, with 61.3 percent of its adults holding a bachelor's or higher degree. Tippecanoe and Monroe counties are home to Indiana's major public universities.

The designation for the most educated city or town in Indiana goes to North Crows Nest in northern Marion County, where 100 percent of the adult population are at least high school graduates and 85 percent have a bachelor's degree or more.

"The counties which made the greatest advances in educational attainment were Warren, Starke, Jennings, Scott and Crawford. These mainly rural counties are probably demonstrating an aging of the population with older, less well-educated persons dying or moving away," said Morton Marcus, executive director of the IBRC.