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Least educated county in every state

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Maglara // Shutterstock

Least educated county in every state

The value of a traditional education can vary widely across the country. While a college degree has long been viewed as a critical step towards the American dream, burgeoning costs have led many to reconsider the return-on-investment of higher education. Meanwhile, local economies and individual circumstances can push some towards learning a trade or entering the workforce early.

These considerations aside, the national statistics show a clear difference in earnings as they relate to educational attainment, as college graduates typically earn 65% more than those with only a high school degree.

To help understand areas with the lowest educational attainment, Stacker used data from the 2012-2016 American Community Survey to construct a weighted index which measures the relative education level for every county in the United States. This index evaluates each county’s over-25 population across seven educational tiers, ranging from individuals not educated past 8th grade to those with graduate or professional degrees. For each segment of these tiers, a points-based indexing system was applied in direct proportion to the estimated years of schooling for each level of educational attainment. Lastly, the full range of index scores was normalized to a 0 to 100 scale, with 100 representing the most educated county in the United States.

For each county, we've included supporting educational attainment data as well as how it ranks nationally. Read on to explore the least educated county in every state.

RELATED: Click here to find out what states are spending the most & least per student on education

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Calvin Beale // Wikicommons

Alabama: Bullock County

Education index (out of 100): 74.1
Less than 9th grade: 7.6%
9th to 12th grade, no diploma: 25.9%
High school graduate/equivalent: 34.1%
Some college, no degree: 18.3%
Associate's degree: 3.9%
Bachelor's degree: 4.9%
Graduate or professional degree: 5.4%
Rank (of all counties): 3,067/3,141


 

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CTLiotta // Wikimedia Commons

Alaska: Kusilvak Census Area

Education index (out of 100): 73.4
Less than 9th grade: 8.1%
9th to 12th grade, no diploma: 13.5%
High school graduate/equivalent: 52.2%
Some college, no degree: 19.3%
Associate's degree: 2.1%
Bachelor's degree: 2.9%
Graduate or professional degree: 1.9%
Rank (of all counties): 3,094/3,141

Note: Kusilvak Census Area is known as a county equivalent, representing a county-sized subdivision of the state's Unorganized Borough

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Marine 69-71 // Wikimedia Commons

Arizona: La Paz County

Education index (out of 100): 75.0
Less than 9th grade: 9.9%
9th to 12th grade, no diploma: 14.9%
High school graduate/equivalent: 36.4%
Some college, no degree: 22.1%
Associate's degree: 6.1%
Bachelor's degree: 6.6%
Graduate or professional degree: 3.8%
Rank (of all counties): 2,977/3,141


 

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Billy Hathorn // Wikimedia Commons

Arkansas: Sevier County

Education index (out of 100): 73.4
Less than 9th grade: 15.0%
9th to 12th grade, no diploma: 15.4%
High school graduate/equivalent: 34.6%
Some college, no degree: 20.7%
Associate's degree: 5.0%
Bachelor's degree: 5.8%
Graduate or professional degree: 3.6%
Rank (of all counties): 3,098/3,141


 

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JERRYE AND ROY KLOTZ MD // Wikimedia Commons

California: Imperial County

Education index (out of 100): 74.1
Less than 9th grade: 18.8%
9th to 12th grade, no diploma: 14.2%
High school graduate/equivalent: 22.5%
Some college, no degree: 24.1%
Associate's degree: 6.5%
Bachelor's degree: 9.8%
Graduate or professional degree: 4.1%
Rank (of all counties): 3,066/3,141


 

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Jeffrey Beall // Wikimedia Commons

Colorado: Bent County

Education index (out of 100): 76.6
Less than 9th grade: 6.9%
9th to 12th grade, no diploma: 8.9%
High school graduate/equivalent: 45.5%
Some college, no degree: 19.0%
Associate's degree: 10.2%
Bachelor's degree: 6.6%
Graduate or professional degree: 2.9%
Rank (of all counties): 2,663/3,141


 

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John Phelan // Wikimedia Commons

Connecticut: Windham County

Education index (out of 100): 81.9
Less than 9th grade: 4.2%
9th to 12th grade, no diploma: 7.8%
High school graduate/equivalent: 33.3%
Some college, no degree: 21.7%
Associate's degree: 9.2%
Bachelor's degree: 14.5%
Graduate or professional degree: 9.4%
Rank (of all counties): 918/3,141


 

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JERRYE & ROY KLOTZ MD // Wikimedia Commons

Delaware: Kent County

Education index (out of 100): 81.3
Less than 9th grade: 4.4%
9th to 12th grade, no diploma: 8.7%
High school graduate/equivalent: 33.6%
Some college, no degree: 21.6%
Associate's degree: 8.6%
Bachelor's degree: 14.4%
Graduate or professional degree: 8.7%
Rank (of all counties): 1,098/3,141


 

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Ebyabe // Wikimedia Commons

Florida: Hendry County

Education index (out of 100): 71.3
Less than 9th grade: 22.4%
9th to 12th grade, no diploma: 14.7%
High school graduate/equivalent: 31.7%
Some college, no degree: 16.0%
Associate's degree: 6.1%
Bachelor's degree: 5.9%
Graduate or professional degree: 3.2%
Rank (of all counties): 3,128/3,141


 

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Hermann Luyken

Georgia: Stewart County

Education index (out of 100): 71.4
Less than 9th grade: 18.3%
9th to 12th grade, no diploma: 19.6%
High school graduate/equivalent: 35.3%
Some college, no degree: 12.1%
Associate's degree: 4.3%
Bachelor's degree: 8.5%
Graduate or professional degree: 1.9%
Rank (of all counties): 3,126/3,141


 

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Joel Bradshaw // Wikimedia Commons

Hawaii: Maui County

Education index (out of 100): 83.0
Less than 9th grade: 3.6%
9th to 12th grade, no diploma: 4.6%
High school graduate/equivalent: 31.5%
Some college, no degree: 24.6%
Associate's degree: 10.1%
Bachelor's degree: 17.5%
Graduate or professional degree: 8.2%
Rank (of all counties): 625/3,141


 

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Kristen Taylor // Wikimedia Commons

Idaho: Clark County

Education index (out of 100): 73.3
Less than 9th grade: 24.6%
9th to 12th grade, no diploma: 5.9%
High school graduate/equivalent: 31.7%
Some college, no degree: 20.0%
Associate's degree: 2.6%
Bachelor's degree: 11.0%
Graduate or professional degree: 4.2%
Rank (of all counties): 3,101/3,141


 

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hickory hardscrabble // Wikimedia Commons

Illinois: Alexander County

Education index (out of 100): 75.1
Less than 9th grade: 7.8%
9th to 12th grade, no diploma: 17.2%
High school graduate/equivalent: 34.2%
Some college, no degree: 25.2%
Associate's degree: 6.6%
Bachelor's degree: 6.7%
Graduate or professional degree: 2.3%
Rank (of all counties): 2,962/3,141


 

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MrHarman // Wikimedia Commons

Indiana: LaGrange County

Education index (out of 100): 71.3
Less than 9th grade: 28.1%
9th to 12th grade, no diploma: 7.6%
High school graduate/equivalent: 32.0%
Some college, no degree: 14.0%
Associate's degree: 7.1%
Bachelor's degree: 7.5%
Graduate or professional degree: 3.7%
Rank (of all counties): 3,127/3,141


 

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Billwhittaker // Wikimedia Commons

Iowa: Crawford County

Education index (out of 100): 75.6
Less than 9th grade: 13.1%
9th to 12th grade, no diploma: 8.4%
High school graduate/equivalent: 37.7%
Some college, no degree: 19.5%
Associate's degree: 9.7%
Bachelor's degree: 9.2%
Graduate or professional degree: 2.5%
Rank (of all counties): 2,872/3,141


 

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Billy Hathorn // Wikimedia Commons

Kansas: Seward County

Education index (out of 100): 73.0
Less than 9th grade: 20.2%
9th to 12th grade, no diploma: 14.5%
High school graduate/equivalent: 25.3%
Some college, no degree: 20.2%
Associate's degree: 8.3%
Bachelor's degree: 8.6%
Graduate or professional degree: 3%
Rank (of all counties): 3,107/3,141


 

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Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

Kentucky: Leslie County

Education index (out of 100): 71.8
Less than 9th grade: 18.0%
9th to 12th grade, no diploma: 18.3%
High school graduate/equivalent: 34.6%
Some college, no degree: 16.1%
Associate's degree: 3.3%
Bachelor's degree: 6.0%
Graduate or professional degree: 3.7%
Rank (of all counties): 3,122/3,141


 

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Jerrye & Roy Klotz, MD // Wikimedia Commons

Louisiana: Evangeline Parish

Education index (out of 100): 74.1
Less than 9th grade: 13.7%
9th to 12th grade, no diploma: 15.0%
High school graduate/equivalent: 36.6%
Some college, no degree: 17.4%
Associate's degree: 5.4%
Bachelor's degree: 8.5%
Graduate or professional degree: 3.4%
Rank (of all counties): 3,064/3,141


 

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Mushero // Wikimedia Commons

Maine: Somerset County

Education index (out of 100): 79.5
Less than 9th grade: 3.6%
9th to 12th grade, no diploma: 8.5%
High school graduate/equivalent: 41.8%
Some college, no degree: 19.2%
Associate's degree: 11.2%
Bachelor's degree: 10.9%
Graduate or professional degree: 4.9%
Rank (of all counties): 1,793/3,141


 

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Calvin Beale // Wikimedia Commons

Maryland: Somerset County

Education index (out of 100): 77.0
Less than 9th grade: 5.6%
9th to 12th grade, no diploma: 15.3%
High school graduate/equivalent: 41.7%
Some college, no degree: 19.1%
Associate's degree: 4.4%
Bachelor's degree: 8.0%
Graduate or professional degree: 6%
Rank (of all counties): 2,564/3,141


 

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Marcbela // Wikimedia Commons

Massachusetts: Bristol County

Education index (out of 100): 81.2
Less than 9th grade: 8.4%
9th to 12th grade, no diploma: 7.8%
High school graduate/equivalent: 30.0%
Some college, no degree: 18.1%
Associate's degree: 9.1%
Bachelor's degree: 16.9%
Graduate or professional degree: 9.7%
Rank (of all counties): 1,124/3,141


 

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Dwight Burdette // Wikimedia Commons

Michigan: Lake County

Education index (out of 100): 76.4
Less than 9th grade: 4.9%
9th to 12th grade, no diploma: 13.0%
High school graduate/equivalent: 42.6%
Some college, no degree: 22.9%
Associate's degree: 7.6%
Bachelor's degree: 5.8%
Graduate or professional degree: 3.2%
Rank (of all counties): 2,701/3,141


 

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Tony Webster // Wikimedia Commons

Minnesota: Nobles County

Education index (out of 100): 76.0
Less than 9th grade: 14.3%
9th to 12th grade, no diploma: 8.5%
High school graduate/equivalent: 33.2%
Some college, no degree: 20.8%
Associate's degree: 9.7%
Bachelor's degree: 9.5%
Graduate or professional degree: 4%
Rank (of all counties): 2,813/3,141


 

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Mississippi Department of Archives and History // Wikimedia Commons

Mississippi: Issaquena County

Education index (out of 100): 72.7
Less than 9th grade: 13.8%
9th to 12th grade, no diploma: 19.7%
High school graduate/equivalent: 34.4%
Some college, no degree: 20.3%
Associate's degree: 2.8%
Bachelor's degree: 4.7%
Graduate or professional degree: 4.3%
Rank (of all counties): 3,112/3,141


 

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Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

Missouri: Mississippi County

Education index (out of 100): 74.2
Less than 9th grade: 11.0%
9th to 12th grade, no diploma: 16.1%
High school graduate/equivalent: 39.1%
Some college, no degree: 19.6%
Associate's degree: 2.7%
Bachelor's degree: 8.2%
Graduate or professional degree: 3.2%
Rank (of all counties): 3,055/3,141


 

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J.B. Chandler // Wikimedia Commons

Montana: Wheatland County

Education index (out of 100): 75.9
Less than 9th grade: 18.2%
9th to 12th grade, no diploma: 5.9%
High school graduate/equivalent: 33.1%
Some college, no degree: 21.0%
Associate's degree: 2.8%
Bachelor's degree: 15.1%
Graduate or professional degree: 4%
Rank (of all counties): 2,820/3,141


 

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Ammodramus // Wikimedia Commons

Nebraska: Dakota County

Education index (out of 100): 74.7
Less than 9th grade: 17.3%
9th to 12th grade, no diploma: 8.4%
High school graduate/equivalent: 35.9%
Some college, no degree: 19.5%
Associate's degree: 6.0%
Bachelor's degree: 8.9%
Graduate or professional degree: 4.1%
Rank (of all counties): 3,016/3,141


 

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Ken Lund // Wikimedia Commons

Nevada: Pershing County

Education index (out of 100): 76.1
Less than 9th grade: 9.3%
9th to 12th grade, no diploma: 12.4%
High school graduate/equivalent: 35.1%
Some college, no degree: 24.0%
Associate's degree: 8.1%
Bachelor's degree: 6.4%
Graduate or professional degree: 4.6%
Rank (of all counties): 2,777/3,141


 

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Jon Platek // Wikimedia Commons

New Hampshire: Coos County

Education index (out of 100): 79.9
Less than 9th grade: 3.3%
9th to 12th grade, no diploma: 8.8%
High school graduate/equivalent: 39.2%
Some college, no degree: 20.4%
Associate's degree: 10.5%
Bachelor's degree: 11.7%
Graduate or professional degree: 6%
Rank (of all counties): 1,603/3,141


 

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Tim Kiser // Wikimedia Commons

New Jersey: Cumberland County

Education index (out of 100): 76.2
Less than 9th grade: 9.4%
9th to 12th grade, no diploma: 13.3%
High school graduate/equivalent: 39.3%
Some college, no degree: 17.1%
Associate's degree: 6.7%
Bachelor's degree: 10.1%
Graduate or professional degree: 4.1%
Rank (of all counties): 2,762/3,141


 

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AllenS // Wikimedia Commons

New Mexico: Luna County

Education index (out of 100): 73.9
Less than 9th grade: 17.2%
9th to 12th grade, no diploma: 13.5%
High school graduate/equivalent: 32.8%
Some college, no degree: 17.9%
Associate's degree: 6.1%
Bachelor's degree: 7.2%
Graduate or professional degree: 5.3%
Rank (of all counties): 3,077/3,141


 

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Christopher Le // Wikimedia Commons

New York: Bronx County

Education index (out of 100): 76.3
Less than 9th grade: 14.7%
9th to 12th grade, no diploma: 14.2%
High school graduate/equivalent: 27.4%
Some college, no degree: 17.7%
Associate's degree: 6.9%
Bachelor's degree: 12.5%
Graduate or professional degree: 6.6%
Rank (of all counties): 2,723/3,141


 

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HarmonyReignPope // Wikimedia Commons

North Carolina: Tyrrell County

Education index (out of 100): 74.3
Less than 9th grade: 7.7%
9th to 12th grade, no diploma: 19.3%
High school graduate/equivalent: 39.3%
Some college, no degree: 20.5%
Associate's degree: 4.9%
Bachelor's degree: 4.3%
Graduate or professional degree: 3.9%
Rank (of all counties): 3,053/3,141


 

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Rex Sorgatz // Wikimedia Commons

North Dakota: Logan County

Education index (out of 100): 77.0
Less than 9th grade: 10.8%
9th to 12th grade, no diploma: 4.8%
High school graduate/equivalent: 41.6%
Some college, no degree: 19.9%
Associate's degree: 9.1%
Bachelor's degree: 12.1%
Graduate or professional degree: 1.7%
Rank (of all counties): 2,569/3,141


 

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Chris Light // Wikimedia Commons

Ohio: Holmes County

Education index (out of 100): 68.3
Less than 9th grade: 34.6%
9th to 12th grade, no diploma: 7.0%
High school graduate/equivalent: 36.3%
Some college, no degree: 10.1%
Associate's degree: 4.4%
Bachelor's degree: 5.1%
Graduate or professional degree: 2.6%
Rank (of all counties): 3,138/3,141


 

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Ammodramus // Wikimedia Commons

Oklahoma: Texas County

Education index (out of 100): 75.9
Less than 9th grade: 16.4%
9th to 12th grade, no diploma: 11.9%
High school graduate/equivalent: 29.5%
Some college, no degree: 18.4%
Associate's degree: 3.8%
Bachelor's degree: 15.5%
Graduate or professional degree: 4.6%
Rank (of all counties): 2,824/3,141


 

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Ian Poellet // Wikimedia Commons

Oregon: Morrow County

Education index (out of 100): 75.1
Less than 9th grade: 10.1%
9th to 12th grade, no diploma: 14.8%
High school graduate/equivalent: 34.6%
Some college, no degree: 22.7%
Associate's degree: 7.9%
Bachelor's degree: 7.5%
Graduate or professional degree: 2.5%
Rank (of all counties): 2,946/3,141


 

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Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

Pennsylvania: Forest County

Education index (out of 100): 75.2
Less than 9th grade: 4.0%
9th to 12th grade, no diploma: 15.2%
High school graduate/equivalent: 54.6%
Some college, no degree: 13.8%
Associate's degree: 4.1%
Bachelor's degree: 5.1%
Graduate or professional degree: 3.2%
Rank (of all counties): 2,941/3,141


 

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Kenneth Zirkel // Wikimedia Commons

Rhode Island: Providence County

Education index (out of 100): 81.4
Less than 9th grade: 8.0%
9th to 12th grade, no diploma: 8.8%
High school graduate/equivalent: 29.6%
Some college, no degree: 18.4%
Associate's degree: 7.9%
Bachelor's degree: 16.5%
Graduate or professional degree: 10.8%
Rank (of all counties): 1,057/3,141


 

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Bubba73 // Wikimedia Commons

South Carolina: Allendale County

Education index (out of 100): 74.5
Less than 9th grade: 9.0%
9th to 12th grade, no diploma: 16.4%
High school graduate/equivalent: 40.7%
Some college, no degree: 16.4%
Associate's degree: 7.6%
Bachelor's degree: 7.9%
Graduate or professional degree: 1.9%
Rank (of all counties): 3,032/3,141


 

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Magicpiano // Wikimedia Commons

South Dakota: Buffalo County

Education index (out of 100): 75.1
Less than 9th grade: 6.0%
9th to 12th grade, no diploma: 16.5%
High school graduate/equivalent: 41.4%
Some college, no degree: 20.5%
Associate's degree: 7.6%
Bachelor's degree: 6.1%
Graduate or professional degree: 1.9%
Rank (of all counties): 2,951/3,141


 

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chiacomo // Wikimedia Commons

Tennessee: Lake County

Education index (out of 100): 73.6
Less than 9th grade: 9.8%
9th to 12th grade, no diploma: 17.1%
High school graduate/equivalent: 45.6%
Some college, no degree: 14.7%
Associate's degree: 3.6%
Bachelor's degree: 5.8%
Graduate or professional degree: 3.3%
Rank (of all counties): 3,085/3,141


 

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Carol M. Highsmith // Library of Commons

Texas: Starr County

Education index (out of 100): 67.5
Less than 9th grade: 34.0%
9th to 12th grade, no diploma: 17.5%
High school graduate/equivalent: 23.9%
Some college, no degree: 12.0%
Associate's degree: 3.3%
Bachelor's degree: 6.5%
Graduate or professional degree: 2.8%
Rank (of all counties): 3,141/3,141


 

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Ken Lund // Wikimedia Commons

Utah: Uintah County

Education index (out of 100): 79.1
Less than 9th grade: 2.8%
9th to 12th grade, no diploma: 10.4%
High school graduate/equivalent: 34.7%
Some college, no degree: 29.1%
Associate's degree: 8.0%
Bachelor's degree: 11.2%
Graduate or professional degree: 3.7%
Rank (of all counties): 1,916/3,141


 

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Doug Kerr // Wikimedia Commons

Vermont: Essex County

Education index (out of 100): 78.1
Less than 9th grade: 6.9%
9th to 12th grade, no diploma: 8.8%
High school graduate/equivalent: 44.1%
Some college, no degree: 14.6%
Associate's degree: 9.7%
Bachelor's degree: 10.2%
Graduate or professional degree: 5.6%
Rank (of all counties): 2,253/3,141


 

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Tburgess68 // Wikimedia Commons

Virginia: Buchanan County

Education index (out of 100): 73.5
Less than 9th grade: 16.0%
9th to 12th grade, no diploma: 14.0%
High school graduate/equivalent: 35.2%
Some college, no degree: 18.4%
Associate's degree: 6.5%
Bachelor's degree: 6.3%
Graduate or professional degree: 3.7%
Rank (of all counties): 3,093/3,141


 

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Joe Mabel // Wikimedia Commons

Washington: Adams County

Education index (out of 100): 73.0
Less than 9th grade: 24.6%
9th to 12th grade, no diploma: 9.3%
High school graduate/equivalent: 26.5%
Some college, no degree: 18.6%
Associate's degree: 7.2%
Bachelor's degree: 9.4%
Graduate or professional degree: 4.4%
Rank (of all counties): 3,110/3,141


 

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Upstateherd // Wikimedia Commons

West Virginia: McDowell County

Education index (out of 100): 70.9
Less than 9th grade: 14.3%
9th to 12th grade, no diploma: 20.8%
High school graduate/equivalent: 44.9%
Some college, no degree: 11.8%
Associate's degree: 3.1%
Bachelor's degree: 3.0%
Graduate or professional degree: 2.2%
Rank (of all counties): 3,133/3,141


 

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Jeff the quiet // Wikimedia Commons

Wisconsin: Clark County

Education index (out of 100): 76.0
Less than 9th grade: 11.5%
9th to 12th grade, no diploma: 6.9%
High school graduate/equivalent: 42.5%
Some college, no degree: 19.0%
Associate's degree: 8.6%
Bachelor's degree: 8.4%
Graduate or professional degree: 3.1%
Rank (of all counties): 2,799/3,141


 

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wusel007 // Wikimedia Commons

Wyoming: Converse County

Education index (out of 100): 80.1
Less than 9th grade: 2.8%
9th to 12th grade, no diploma: 7.0%
High school graduate/equivalent: 37.9%
Some college, no degree: 24.0%
Associate's degree: 12.8%
Bachelor's degree: 11.0%
Graduate or professional degree: 4.5%
Rank (of all counties): 1,535/3,141


 

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