A new report shows Audrain County has seen a rise in college-educated residents.
The Center for Rural Strategies reports the percentage Audrain County’s college grads nearly doubled between 1970 to 2010. According to the 2010 census, the percentage of adults over 25 years of age with a college degree went from 6.4% to 14% over the forty-year span.
The down side is that Audrain is still significantly behind the state and national averages, which are 25% and 27.9%, respectively.
Dr. Judith Stallmann, an Economist with the University of Missouri, says those figures don’t paint the whole picture for rural areas like Audrain County.
“I think if you look at the ones that have some education beyond high school, which is what a lot of rural jobs require, you see that people do respond. They get the education needed for the job,” she explained. “When you do that, the rural and national rates are very close.”
This includes education from community colleges and vocational schools.
Dr. Stallmann says when looking at four-year degrees, part of the disparity may be because of a “self-reinforcing cycle.” The cycle is that many college graduates do not return to their rural homes, since the university experience and job opportunities often lead them elsewhere.
The report was published on the Daily Yonder by the Center for Rural Strategies.