Thursday, November 14, 2013

Why So Broke?

The actual reasons, obviously, are complex and would need several lengthy posts to examine.

But for the sake of continuing the great American mythic structure (that is, education leads to material wealth!), have a look at this map put out by the Washington Post, which tends to correlate college education (or the lack of it) to higher incomes.


Interesting, and slightly depressing, to be made aware yet again of just how poor and how under-educated people in Arkansas are.  Some counties have a college degree rate of 3%.  And yes, these are the poorest of our counties.

But even Bentonville, among the richest counties in Arkansas, thanks to all that Wal-Mart money, has a median income of less that $57,000/year; and a college degree rate of 36%. (Compare Boston, with a degree rate of 94% and a median income of $127, 000 /year.  Or Austin, with a degree rate of 79% and a median income of $129,000/year.)


Bardiac said...

Well, that's depressing.

Even in areas with pretty high incomes, it seems like there are a lot of poor people all over, no? I mean, look at, say, San Francisco. A fair bit of education and some folks making money, but lots of people struggling, too.

Undisclosed said...

So should I tailor where I want to live in the future to this data? Cause I've utterly despised the lack of meaningful work around here and the fact that I have yet to discover a steady job that pays 30 - 50k with my degree :/
Still digging out of my hole so I can work on grad school, too.


delagar said...

Undisclosed -- you could do worse, I suppose, all else being equal.

If you have a good support system here, though, by which I mean family who can help you out if you run into trouble, that might be something to factor into the decision.

Also, the cost of living here in Fort Smith is lower than most places.

OTOH, if you know where you want to go to graduate school, going there and establishing residency might be something to consider.

delagar said...


Anonymous said...

I just looked at the map. I moved from 06410 (92%) to 72956 (23%) nine years ago when I got married. I have a Master's degree and earn less than $6,000/yr. Adjuncting, you know...
I own a house here and I am more-or-less stuck here. Just a bit depressing. I am posting anonymously, but I am sure you can figure out who I am. Just want to protect my privacy.

dorki said...

A very interesting map there, thanks for posting it. It did confirm (and quantify) my opinion about the local incomes and education in my city versus anywhere else in this deep south state.

One thing that would have been a great addition to this would have been a listing of the cost of living for the areas. For instance, a $500k home would be a dump in most places with the same education and income ranges.

delagar said...

I agree on the COL, dorki. $80,000/year is a ton of money here in Fort Smith; but I bet it's barely a living wage in San Francisco.