Why this is important
Higher levels of educational attainment lead to economic and social benefits for both individuals and society. People who hold a college degree benefit with financial rewards such as lower unemployment and higher earnings than those who do not hold a college degree. College graduates are likely to earn about $1 million more than high school graduates during their working lives.
Society-wide benefits of greater educational attainment include greater workplace productivity and higher tax revenues. Communities with highly educated residents are correlated with more civic involvement, including voter participation rates, and lower crime rates.
What the data show
More and more Dakota County residents of 25 years of age and older are getting Associate, Bachelor’s and Professional degree. In 2012, the percent of Dakota County adults who have a bachelor’s or higher degree is ranked sixth (39%) of the seven Twin Cities metropolitan area counties, but above the state (33%) and national (29%) charts. Compared to the seven-county metro area, Hennepin County (47%) has the highest percent of residents of 25 years of age and older, who completed a college or higher degree in 2012.
The number of Dakota County residents of 25 years of age and older who have earned Bachelor’s and advanced degrees increased from 27% in 1990 to 39% in 2012. During the same period, the percent of adults whose formal education ended with high school declined from 30% to 21%. The segment of population who did not earn a high school diploma in Dakota County declined from 9% in 1990 to 5% in 2012.