Least educated counties in Michigan

Written by:
May 14, 2022
USFWSmidwest // Wikimedia Commons

Least educated counties in Michigan

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

These considerations aside, 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 compiled a list of the least educated counties in Michigan using data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Counties are ranked by the lowest percent of the population 25 years and over that has a Bachelor’s degree or higher. Ties are broken by the highest percent with less than high school diploma.

Keep read on for a look at the least-educated counties in Michigan.

1 / 50
Ryano913~commonswiki // Wikimedia Commons

#50. Barry County

- 21.1% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 7.4% ($31,361 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 37.7% ($36,166)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 33.8% ($41,111)
- Bachelor's degree: 14.8% ($52,753)
- Graduate or professional degree: 6.2% ($67,870)

2 / 50
Recomposemedia // Wikimedia Commons

#49. Delta County

- 21% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 5.9% ($17,321 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 33.8% ($30,069)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 39.4% ($29,344)
- Bachelor's degree: 14.5% ($45,599)
- Graduate or professional degree: 6.5% ($63,407)

3 / 50
battlecreekcvb // Wikimedia Commons

#48. Calhoun County

- 21% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 8.9% ($20,980 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 36.8% ($30,429)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 33.2% ($35,735)
- Bachelor's degree: 13.7% ($48,023)
- Graduate or professional degree: 7.3% ($67,371)

4 / 50
Dwight Burdette // Wikimedia Commons

#47. Lenawee County

- 21% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 9.1% ($21,611 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 36.9% ($29,943)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 33% ($34,504)
- Bachelor's degree: 13.7% ($49,168)
- Graduate or professional degree: 7.3% ($62,847)

5 / 50
kennethaw88 // Wikimedia Commons

#46. Saginaw County

- 20.8% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 10.6% ($20,368 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 33.3% ($26,534)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 35.2% ($31,687)
- Bachelor's degree: 13.3% ($50,296)
- Graduate or professional degree: 7.5% ($65,170)

6 / 50
Cwbash (Charles W. Bash) // Wikimedia Commons

#45. Cheboygan County

- 20.7% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 9.9% ($19,464 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 38% ($26,134)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 31.4% ($31,167)
- Bachelor's degree: 12.7% ($35,233)
- Graduate or professional degree: 8% ($55,197)

7 / 50
Charles W. Chapman // Wikimedia Commons

#44. Monroe County

- 20.5% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 8.6% ($21,325 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 35.2% ($37,772)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 35.7% ($41,891)
- Bachelor's degree: 13.6% ($60,334)
- Graduate or professional degree: 7% ($65,708)

8 / 50
rossograph // Wikimedia Commons

#43. Manistee County

- 20.3% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 10.2% ($20,169 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 35.6% ($24,732)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 33.9% ($30,988)
- Bachelor's degree: 13.2% ($45,545)
- Graduate or professional degree: 7.1% ($66,750)

9 / 50
NOAA Great Lakes Envorinmental Ressearch Laboritory // Flickr

#42. Muskegon County

- 19.7% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 8.7% ($22,356 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 34% ($29,470)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 37.5% ($33,398)
- Bachelor's degree: 13.6% ($49,048)
- Graduate or professional degree: 6.1% ($65,505)

10 / 50
rossograph // Wikimedia Commons

#41. Oceana County

- 19.5% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 12.8% ($22,568 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 36.3% ($30,718)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 31.4% ($31,580)
- Bachelor's degree: 13% ($43,077)
- Graduate or professional degree: 6.5% ($53,413)

11 / 50
Bobak Ha'Eri // Wikimedia Commons

#40. Gogebic County

- 19.4% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 6.3% ($23,167 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 37.3% ($22,351)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 36.9% ($25,894)
- Bachelor's degree: 12.9% ($39,125)
- Graduate or professional degree: 6.6% ($54,152)

12 / 50
Notorious4life // Wikimedia Commons

#39. Crawford County

- 19.4% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 10% ($17,981 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 33% ($27,273)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 37.5% ($32,271)
- Bachelor's degree: 12.4% ($40,777)
- Graduate or professional degree: 7% ($62,667)

13 / 50
Andrew Jameson // Wikimedia Commons

#38. Bay County

- 19.3% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 9.5% ($16,681 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 34.6% ($30,390)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 36.6% ($34,426)
- Bachelor's degree: 13% ($49,472)
- Graduate or professional degree: 6.3% ($70,038)

14 / 50
rossograph // Wikimedia Commons

#37. Cass County

- 19.2% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 12.3% ($29,375 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 33.2% ($30,813)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 35.4% ($37,215)
- Bachelor's degree: 12.7% ($55,840)
- Graduate or professional degree: 6.5% ($69,879)

15 / 50
Ken Heuvelman // Wikimedia Commons

#36. St. Clair County

- 18.6% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 9.3% ($21,861 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 34% ($31,799)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 38.2% ($37,950)
- Bachelor's degree: 11.8% ($51,923)
- Graduate or professional degree: 6.8% ($68,962)

16 / 50
Rklawton // Wikimedia Commons

#35. Iron County

- 18.5% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 8.9% ($18,138 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 41.9% ($27,770)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 30.7% ($30,895)
- Bachelor's degree: 11.7% ($43,125)
- Graduate or professional degree: 6.8% ($38,365)

17 / 50
Charles W. Chapman // Wikimedia Commons

#34. Luce County

- 18.4% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 11.5% ($20,521 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 36.8% ($21,250)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 33.2% ($30,813)
- Bachelor's degree: 12.2% ($49,750)
- Graduate or professional degree: 6.2% ($36,905)

18 / 50
Notorious4life // Wikimedia Commons

#33. Lapeer County

- 18.3% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 9.2% ($22,388 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 35.8% ($30,925)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 36.8% ($39,686)
- Bachelor's degree: 12.5% ($55,802)
- Graduate or professional degree: 5.8% ($66,048)

19 / 50
Charles W. Chapman // Wikimedia Commons

#32. Wexford County

- 18.2% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 10.4% ($25,561 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 36.4% ($26,994)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 34.9% ($27,421)
- Bachelor's degree: 12.4% ($41,607)
- Graduate or professional degree: 5.8% ($61,429)

20 / 50
Dylan L. Tanner // Wikimedia Commons

#31. Alpena County

- 18% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 8.2% ($16,567 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 33.7% ($26,046)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 40.2% ($30,692)
- Bachelor's degree: 11.4% ($45,750)
- Graduate or professional degree: 6.6% ($56,987)

21 / 50
David Coats // Wikimedia Commons

#30. Presque Isle County

- 17.9% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 10.4% ($20,489 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 38.2% ($30,022)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 33.5% ($27,424)
- Bachelor's degree: 10.9% ($56,029)
- Graduate or professional degree: 7% ($64,353)

22 / 50
National Park Service // Wikimedia Commons

#29. Alger County

- 17.4% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 10.1% ($11,049 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 45.2% ($15,913)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 27.3% ($28,065)
- Bachelor's degree: 11.6% ($37,313)
- Graduate or professional degree: 5.8% ($44,097)

23 / 50
Calvin Beale // Wikimedia Commons

#28. Hillsdale County

- 17.3% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 11.9% ($22,788 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 38.9% ($31,425)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 31.9% ($36,696)
- Bachelor's degree: 10.7% ($45,700)
- Graduate or professional degree: 6.7% ($66,711)

24 / 50
daBinsi // Wikimedia Commons

#27. Shiawassee County

- 17% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 7.7% ($24,153 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 37.3% ($31,342)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 37.9% ($37,931)
- Bachelor's degree: 11.5% ($50,073)
- Graduate or professional degree: 5.6% ($62,743)

25 / 50
Notorious4life // Wikimedia Commons

#26. Alcona County

- 16.9% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 10.7% ($16,705 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 39.3% ($22,463)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 33.1% ($26,755)
- Bachelor's degree: 11.3% ($37,813)
- Graduate or professional degree: 5.7% ($46,563)

26 / 50
Charles W. Chapman // Wikimedia Commons

#25. Newaygo County

- 16.6% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 11.9% ($23,407 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 40.4% ($31,004)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 31.1% ($33,591)
- Bachelor's degree: 10.9% ($44,722)
- Graduate or professional degree: 5.7% ($64,375)

27 / 50
RomanKahler // Wikimedia Commons

#24. Ontonagon County

- 16.5% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 7.5% ($16,000 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 43.4% ($22,435)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 32.5% ($31,783)
- Bachelor's degree: 11.3% ($36,875)
- Graduate or professional degree: 5.2% ($36,250)

28 / 50
Andrew Jameson // Wikimedia Commons

#23. Ionia County

- 16.4% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 9.5% ($23,125 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 39.1% ($31,943)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 35% ($37,753)
- Bachelor's degree: 11.5% ($53,260)
- Graduate or professional degree: 4.9% ($62,647)

29 / 50
Bobak Ha'Eri // Wikimedia Commons

#22. Menominee County

- 16.3% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 7.5% ($19,659 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 42.5% ($31,806)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 33.7% ($30,493)
- Bachelor's degree: 11.3% ($43,045)
- Graduate or professional degree: 5% ($58,378)

30 / 50
Charles W. Chapman // Wikimedia Commons

#21. St. Joseph County

- 16.2% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 13% ($30,880 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 36.6% ($31,065)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 34.3% ($32,091)
- Bachelor's degree: 10.4% ($48,884)
- Graduate or professional degree: 5.7% ($59,750)

31 / 50
Charles Bash // Wikimedia Commons

#20. Huron County

- 16% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 10.9% ($24,470 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 41.6% ($28,787)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 31.5% ($32,864)
- Bachelor's degree: 10.8% ($45,341)
- Graduate or professional degree: 5.2% ($60,129)

32 / 50
Nick Nolte // Wikimedia Commons

#19. Iosco County

- 15.9% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 11.1% ($23,234 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 38.3% ($25,750)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 34.8% ($28,818)
- Bachelor's degree: 10% ($38,569)
- Graduate or professional degree: 5.9% ($45,529)

33 / 50
Modlind // Wikimedia Commons

#18. Baraga County

- 15.8% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 10.8% ($23,000 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 40.6% ($27,656)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 32.8% ($30,941)
- Bachelor's degree: 9.7% ($55,000)
- Graduate or professional degree: 6.1% ($62,500)

34 / 50
Charles W. Chapman // Wikimedia Commons

#17. Schoolcraft County

- 15.6% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 9.4% ($20,000 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 44.1% ($25,824)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 30.9% ($22,898)
- Bachelor's degree: 10.2% ($43,971)
- Graduate or professional degree: 5.4% ($44,940)

35 / 50
Notorious4life // Wikimedia Commons

#16. Roscommon County

- 15.5% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 10.1% ($11,176 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 38.4% ($26,010)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 36.1% ($26,006)
- Bachelor's degree: 9% ($46,813)
- Graduate or professional degree: 6.5% ($59,688)

36 / 50
Unknown author // Wikimedia Commons

#15. Gratiot County

- 15.4% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 8.9% ($27,255 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 40.4% ($28,847)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 35.3% ($34,609)
- Bachelor's degree: 9.8% ($45,600)
- Graduate or professional degree: 5.5% ($57,159)

37 / 50
rossograph // Wikimedia Commons

#14. Branch County

- 14.4% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 10.9% ($25,388 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 41.5% ($30,156)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 33.2% ($32,426)
- Bachelor's degree: 10.1% ($49,000)
- Graduate or professional degree: 4.4% ($71,553)

38 / 50
Charles W. Chapman // Wikimedia Commons

#13. Osceola County

- 14.2% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 11.4% ($30,280 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 43.8% ($29,909)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 30.7% ($30,819)
- Bachelor's degree: 9.3% ($40,481)
- Graduate or professional degree: 4.9% ($57,750)

39 / 50
Michigan Department of Natural Resources // Wikimedia Commons

#12. Sanilac County

- 14.2% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 11.7% ($26,220 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 41.2% ($29,167)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 33% ($31,994)
- Bachelor's degree: 9.2% ($42,581)
- Graduate or professional degree: 4.9% ($53,364)

40 / 50
Notorious4life // Wikimedia Commons

#11. Missaukee County

- 14% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 10.5% ($25,341 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 41.9% ($30,454)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 33.6% ($30,452)
- Bachelor's degree: 9.4% ($46,780)
- Graduate or professional degree: 4.6% ($55,341)

41 / 50
Henry Schenck Tanner // Wikimedia Commons

#10. Montmorency County

- 13.7% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 13% ($11,938 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 42.9% ($26,891)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 30.4% ($26,979)
- Bachelor's degree: 8.6% ($36,875)
- Graduate or professional degree: 5.1% ($34,167)

42 / 50
kennethaw88 // Wikimedia Commons

#9. Tuscola County

- 13.5% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 10.7% ($20,451 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 42.4% ($30,328)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 33.4% ($33,466)
- Bachelor's degree: 9% ($41,990)
- Graduate or professional degree: 4.4% ($64,399)

43 / 50
User:Malepheasant // Wikimedia Commons

#8. Gladwin County

- 13.5% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 13% ($24,258 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 39.3% ($27,289)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 34.3% ($32,955)
- Bachelor's degree: 8% ($46,131)
- Graduate or professional degree: 5.5% ($62,760)

44 / 50
rossograph // Wikimedia Commons

#7. Montcalm County

- 13.3% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 11.4% ($30,092 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 40.4% ($29,827)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 34.9% ($34,646)
- Bachelor's degree: 8.9% ($46,039)
- Graduate or professional degree: 4.4% ($62,972)

45 / 50
Ian Poellet (User:Werewombat) // Wikimedia Commons

#6. Arenac County

- 12.6% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 11.5% ($24,531 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 41.9% ($25,374)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 34% ($30,580)
- Bachelor's degree: 8.7% ($46,923)
- Graduate or professional degree: 3.8% ($55,000)

46 / 50
Iulus Ascanius // Wikimedia Commons

#5. Clare County

- 12.6% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 15.5% ($24,735 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 36.6% ($21,612)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 35.3% ($27,549)
- Bachelor's degree: 7.9% ($41,058)
- Graduate or professional degree: 4.7% ($57,955)

47 / 50
Elevatorrailfan // Wikimedia Commons

#4. Ogemaw County

- 12.2% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 14.1% ($25,165 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 38.2% ($24,875)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 35.5% ($27,925)
- Bachelor's degree: 8% ($43,860)
- Graduate or professional degree: 4.2% ($53,984)

48 / 50
Notorious4life // Wikimedia Commons

#3. Kalkaska County

- 11.9% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 12.7% ($20,568 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 42.1% ($30,323)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 33.3% ($28,063)
- Bachelor's degree: 7.5% ($46,694)
- Graduate or professional degree: 4.4% ($52,778)

49 / 50
rossograph // Wikimedia Commons

#2. Lake County

- 11.9% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 17.5% ($14,292 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 40.6% ($23,413)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 30% ($24,313)
- Bachelor's degree: 7.7% ($36,518)
- Graduate or professional degree: 4.2% ($59,688)

50 / 50
USFWSmidwest // Wikimedia Commons

#1. Oscoda County

- 10.6% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 16.6% ($28,438 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 37.4% ($21,900)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 35.5% ($27,715)
- Bachelor's degree: 6.7% ($28,482)
- Graduate or professional degree: 3.9% ($62,500)

Trending Now