How much more do you make with a college degree in each county?



It has been widely documented that going to college will increase your lifetime income. According to the American Community Survey, an average American with only a high school diploma will average $27,528 a year. The same measure for someone with a bachelor’s degree is $50,254. Even though these are the averages, it doesn’t mean that this information is true in every situation.

It doesn’t always pay to go to college, but it does most of the time.

There are actually 42 counties in the US where the American Community Survey reports that on average high school graduates earn more than college graduates. While this is far from the norm in America’s 3000+ counties, the graphic below shows the differences in for each county. From our high level analysis it looks like in most urban areas the income gap is fairly large, but in more urban communities it is much smaller.

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The information displayed above comes from the American Communities Survey, 2013 5 Year Estimates which is published by the US Census Bureau. These figures can be found on Table S1501 at The visualization was then created using Tableau.


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