Map of the Month

Missouri Educational Attainment and Income

Educational attainment is an established, validated predictor of income. This map-of-the-month series looks at the distribution of both characteristics in Missouri’s counties. Derived from the U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey (ACS) 2012-2016 5-year data, Missouri households are mapped here by level of educational attainment and median household income, while a bivariate choropleth map displays the variable impact of earning less than a high school diploma on household income.

Educational Attainment and Income in Missouri, 2012-2016The bar chart, based on the 2016 ACS 1-year release, establishes the relative distribution of median household income by level of education. While the overall median household in Missouri realizes approximately $36,000 in income, the median household in Missouri headed by someone without a high school diploma or GED is closer to $20,000.  Completing high school results in a bump of roughly  $10,000, with the median household income of high school graduates a little more than $30,000. Completing some college or an associate’s (2-year degree) results in an incremental increase in household median income to the mid-$30,000 range, but it is completion of a bachelor’s degree or greater that accelerates median household income into the mid-$40,000 to mid-$50,000 range annually.

Educational attainment, however, is not the only driver of income. Access to workforce opportunities and proximity to infrastructure impacts potential income too. Review of the Median household income map reveals the influence of infrastructure investment and population density in driving up wages and income, as seen in the counties shaded in the darkest green.  It’s also interesting to visually note the geographically layered gradation of quantiles of the state with the I-70 highway corridor connecting Missouri’s relatively high income metropolitan areas, and the agricultural northern tier of counties falling into the mid-quantiles, while lower income households concentrate in the southern tier of counties (with exception of income concentrating in the Springfield metro area).

Not surprisingly, a close look at the concentrations of level of educational attainment (the blue-scale maps), correlate at the county level to the median household income map fairly predictably: Populations with higher concentrations of higher levels of education also have higher median household incomes.

The bivariate choropleth map, Median household income by percent of adults with less than high school diploma or GED, lets us see the outliers as well as validating the correlations we anticipated. For example, the truer the shade of blue a county is coded, the higher the percent of the adult population without a high school diploma/GED and the higher median household income indicating some combination of higher wage job and income opportunities relative to educational qualifications. We see these on the periphery of the other end of the spectrum, counties with higher median household incomes and the lowest rates of households with low educational attainment, suggesting “bedroom” communities. Further study to confirm this pattern might include looking at patterns of in-migration over time and commuting patterns.

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Map of the Month

Selected Characteristics of Veterans in U.S. States

To mark Veteran’s Day this year, the U.S. Census Bureau published infographics detailing a variety of state-level statistically derived characteristics of the men and women who served in the U.S. Armed Forces.  The infographics covered a wide range of topics, including educational attainment, economic circumstances, health care accessibility, age, voting tendencies, and labor force statistics.

Selected characteristics of U.S. veterans, 2009-2013

Missouri appeared in the middle range in the majority of the featured national statistics when compared to the other states. Specifically, Missouri had 479,828 veterans, with over 35% of those serving in the Vietnam Era. Nearly 50,000 of these veterans owned their own business, and 5.7% were unemployed. The median household income for veterans in Missouri was $54,311.

Although only four maps are presented here, the complete set of U.S. Census infographics and the data used to create them are available at U.S. Census Veteran’s Day report.

New Census Estimates Compare School-Age Child Poverty to Prerecession Levels

According to U.S. Census Bureau estimates released this week, the poverty rate for school-age children increased in 928 U.S. counties between 2007 and 2013. Fifteen counties showed a decline in poverty rate over the same period, and there was no statistical change in 2,199 counties.

Percent change in poverty rate 2007-2013 for children ages 5-17, by county

The findings also show there were large concentrations in the South and West of the 972 counties with poverty rates statistically above the national average of 20.8% for school-age children. For example, in New Mexico and Mississippi, more than 80% of counties had poverty rates statistically greater than the national rate. Across the nation, 15% of school districts had poverty rates greater than 30% for school-age children.

Conversely, 902 counties had poverty rates for school-age children that were statistically lower than the national rate. In five states, 80% of counties had rates lower than the national rate: Connecticut, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Rhode Island, and Wyoming.

Poverty rate of children ages 5-17, by county, 2013

The statistics are from the Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates (SAIPE) program, which provides the only up-to-date, single-year income and poverty statistics for all counties and school districts — roughly 3,140 counties and nearly 14,000 school districts nationally. Data from the American Community Survey are an important input to these estimates.

The official poverty statistics for the nation were released in the fall of 2014, showing a decline in the poverty rate for children under age 18 from the previous year for the first time since 2000.

About the Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates

The Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates program provides statistics on the total number of people in poverty, the number of children younger than age 5 in poverty (for states only), the number of children ages 5–17 in families in poverty, the number younger than age 18 in poverty, and median household income. At the school district level, estimates are available for the total population, the number of children ages 5–17 and the number of children ages 5–17 in families in poverty. The estimates combine the latest data from the American Community Survey with aggregate data from federal tax records, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, decennial censuses, and the Population Estimates Program.

This release also includes 2013 Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates (SAIPE): An Overview, which presents income and poverty trends and explains the sources and approach.

Statistics from the SAIPE program are an input to the allocation formula for Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, which observes its 50th anniversary in April 2015. Title I distributes funding to school districts based on the number and percentage of low-income children. The U.S. Department of Education will use the 2013 estimates to allocate fiscal year 2015 funds for Title I and other Department of Education programs to states and school districts for use primarily in the 2015-2016 school year.