Highlands graduation rate improving, pay isn't
Gary Pinnell | Highlands TodaySEBRING - For five years, the graduation rate for Highlands County high school students lagged behind Florida and the United States.
Published: January 29, 2013
Published: January 29, 2013
In 2011, however, educational attainment in local schools improved significantly, an annual survey by the U.S. Census Bureau estimates.
According to the most recent American Community Survey estimates, only 37.6 percent of Highlands County youths aged 18 to 24 had a high school diploma or a GED from 2007-2011.
During that same period, the survey estimated that 27.3 percent of county youths had some college or associate's degree. About 2.5 percent were estimated to have a bachelor's degree or higher.
The survey is an annual statistical effort that samples a small percentage of the population every year.
In 2011, however, the percent of county 18- to 24-year-olds estimated to have a high school diploma or a GED was up to 40.1 percent – which was 10 percent better than the rest of Florida, and 11 percent better than the rest of America.
The new federal data shows Florida's graduation rate bettered for citizens of all ages, but the state's national ranking changed little in the past 10 years, and the Sunshine State still ranks among the nation's lowest.
Just District of Columbia and six other states had a worse 2010 graduation rate than Florida's 70.8 percent, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
However, Florida's 2010 graduation rate rose from 63.4 percent in 2002 to 70.8 percent in 2010 school year. During the same period, the national rate inflated from 72.6 percent to 78.2 percent.
At the same time, education attainment levels in the past 10 years rose the most for doctorate and master's degrees, according to new U.S. Census Bureau statistics. The population with a doctorate grew by about 1 million (45 percent) while those who held a master's climbed by 5 million (43 percent).
Highlands County is less educated than the rest of the nation: 16.9 percent of locals have a bachelor's degree or higher, 25.8 percent of Floridians and 28.5 percent of Americans in 2011.
Meanwhile, the American population with associate degrees rose by 5 million, or 31 percent in 2012. Those with a bachelor's degree grew at a smaller rate: 25 percent to 41 million.
At the same time, the number without a high school or GED declined 13 percent to 25 million. Those 2012 statistics came from Educational Attainment in the United States, tables showing attainment levels in a wide range of demographic characteristics, including sex, race, Hispanic origin, marital status, household relationship, citizenship and nativity, labor force status, occupation and industry.
Women outnumbered men in 2012 among people whose highest level of education was a bachelor's degree (21 million versus 19 million) or a master's degree (9 million compared with 7.4 million).
Conversely, more men had doctorate (2 million versus 1.2 million) or professional degrees (1.8 million compared with 1.2 million). Between 2002 and 2012, however, the gap shrank between the number of men and women with professional degrees.
The tabulations also showed that education continues to pay off. Among people 25 and older who had any earnings in 2011, average earnings were $59,415 for people with a bachelor's degree (but no graduate degree), compared with $32,493 for people with a high school diploma, but no college.
That explains why Highlands County citizens earn less. The average earnings for Highlands citizens 25 or older was $23,350, while Floridians made $30,608, and Americans in all 50 states averaged $34,334.
firstname.lastname@example.org (863) 386-5828