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. Studies show that 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 degrees. In 2013, the percent of Dakota County adults with a Bachelor’s degree, or higher, is ranked fifth (40%) of the seven Twin Cities metropolitan area counties, but above the state (34%) and nation (30%). Compared to the seven-county metro area, Carver County (47%) has the highest percent of residents of 25 years of age and older who completed a college or higher degree in 2013, followed by Hennepin County at 46%.
The number of Dakota County residents of 25 years of age and older who have earned Bachelor’s and advanced degrees increased from 25% in 2000 to 40% in 2013. In particular, a higher proportion of residents is obtaining a graduate or professional degree. During the same period, the percent of adults whose formal education ended with high school declined from 24% to 22%. The segment of population that did not earn a high school diploma in Dakota County declined slightly from 7% in 2000 to 6% in 2013.