Least educated counties in Minnesota

Written by:
May 14, 2022
Andrew Filer (afiler) // Wikimedia Commons

Least educated counties in Minnesota

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 Minnesota 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 Minnesota.

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McGhiever // Wikimedia Commons

#50. Kandiyohi County

- 23.3% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 11% ($25,257 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 25.9% ($30,462)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 39.9% ($37,300)
- Bachelor's degree: 16.1% ($45,199)
- Graduate or professional degree: 7.2% ($66,065)

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McGhiever // Wikimedia Commons

#49. Cass County

- 23.2% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 7.8% ($25,665 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 32.3% ($29,194)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 36.7% ($31,850)
- Bachelor's degree: 16% ($44,628)
- Graduate or professional degree: 7.2% ($56,700)

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Jonathunder // Wikimedia Commons

#48. Itasca County

- 23.1% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 6% ($21,399 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 30% ($30,750)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 40.9% ($34,913)
- Bachelor's degree: 15.8% ($47,791)
- Graduate or professional degree: 7.2% ($67,917)

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Bobak Ha'Eri // Wikimedia Commons

#47. Le Sueur County

- 23% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 6.1% ($31,500 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 35.8% ($36,488)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 35.1% ($42,244)
- Bachelor's degree: 17% ($52,656)
- Graduate or professional degree: 6% ($62,368)

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McGhiever // Wikimedia Commons

#46. Pope County

- 22.9% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 5.9% ($34,219 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 30.4% ($30,653)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 40.7% ($39,483)
- Bachelor's degree: 15.9% ($50,927)
- Graduate or professional degree: 7% ($54,038)

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Jonathunder // Wikimedia Commons

#45. Jackson County

- 22.6% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 7.3% ($29,318 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 32.7% ($33,867)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 37.4% ($34,057)
- Bachelor's degree: 18.1% ($51,238)
- Graduate or professional degree: 4.4% ($63,194)

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Bobak Ha'Eri // Wikimedia Commons

#44. Brown County

- 22.2% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 6.5% ($25,216 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 36.1% ($34,490)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 35.2% ($37,668)
- Bachelor's degree: 16.9% ($44,915)
- Graduate or professional degree: 5.3% ($60,417)

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McGhiever // Wikimedia Commons

#43. Fillmore County

- 22.2% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 9% ($25,904 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 34.1% ($34,886)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 34.7% ($40,174)
- Bachelor's degree: 15.7% ($49,401)
- Graduate or professional degree: 6.5% ($55,718)

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Darb02 // Wikimedia Commons

#42. Mower County

- 22.2% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 12.4% ($27,241 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 32% ($32,180)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 33.5% ($39,398)
- Bachelor's degree: 14.7% ($48,425)
- Graduate or professional degree: 7.5% ($59,830)

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Tony Webster // Wikimedia Commons

#41. Carlton County

- 22.1% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 6% ($18,882 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 32.1% ($29,965)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 39.7% ($40,841)
- Bachelor's degree: 16.1% ($49,776)
- Graduate or professional degree: 6.1% ($62,500)

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Tony Webster // Wikimedia Commons

#40. Chisago County

- 21.5% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 5.4% ($31,078 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 33.8% ($39,796)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 39.4% ($48,164)
- Bachelor's degree: 15.3% ($59,583)
- Graduate or professional degree: 6.2% ($73,448)

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Jonathunder // Wikimedia Commons

#39. Waseca County

- 21.4% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 7% ($25,461 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 36.4% ($31,621)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 35.1% ($37,673)
- Bachelor's degree: 15.1% ($50,752)
- Graduate or professional degree: 6.3% ($59,297)

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Jonathunder // Wikimedia Commons

#38. Pipestone County

- 21.3% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 10.4% ($20,000 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 35.5% ($30,720)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 32.9% ($33,419)
- Bachelor's degree: 17.5% ($48,125)
- Graduate or professional degree: 3.8% ($76,477)

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McGhiever // Wikimedia Commons

#37. Murray County

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

- Less than high school diploma: 9.7% ($28,385 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 36.3% ($31,715)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 33.2% ($39,280)
- Bachelor's degree: 14.9% ($42,407)
- Graduate or professional degree: 5.8% ($63,317)

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Jonathunder // Wikimedia Commons

#36. Martin County

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

- Less than high school diploma: 6.8% ($25,978 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 37.9% ($32,500)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 34.8% ($36,880)
- Bachelor's degree: 15% ($47,649)
- Graduate or professional degree: 5.5% ($78,561)

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Myotus // Wikimedia Commons

#35. Roseau County

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

- Less than high school diploma: 7.1% ($26,080 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 35.1% ($35,602)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 37.5% ($39,765)
- Bachelor's degree: 16% ($49,899)
- Graduate or professional degree: 4.3% ($61,630)

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David Daniel // Wikimedia Commons

#34. Cottonwood County

- 20% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 10.6% ($31,326 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 36% ($30,644)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 33.4% ($32,217)
- Bachelor's degree: 15.2% ($44,730)
- Graduate or professional degree: 4.8% ($59,808)

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Bobak Ha'Eri // Wikimedia Commons

#33. Swift County

- 19.6% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 9.5% ($22,500 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 32.7% ($31,108)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 38.3% ($35,508)
- Bachelor's degree: 15.7% ($50,543)
- Graduate or professional degree: 3.9% ($62,344)

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Elkman // Wikimedia Commons

#32. Meeker County

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

- Less than high school diploma: 7.4% ($27,714 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 35.3% ($34,897)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 37.8% ($39,101)
- Bachelor's degree: 14% ($49,837)
- Graduate or professional degree: 5.4% ($64,315)

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Andrew Filer // Wikimedia Commons

#31. Pennington County

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

- Less than high school diploma: 6.8% ($26,658 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 33.1% ($31,960)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 40.7% ($42,179)
- Bachelor's degree: 14.5% ($49,792)
- Graduate or professional degree: 4.8% ($63,043)

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Jonathunder // Wikimedia Commons

#30. Lincoln County

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

- Less than high school diploma: 8.1% ($31,932 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 38.3% ($30,840)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 34.3% ($37,865)
- Bachelor's degree: 14.4% ($48,015)
- Graduate or professional degree: 4.8% ($52,426)

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Mathieu Nicklay // Wikimedia Commons

#29. Norman County

- 19.1% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 8.1% ($27,167 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 36.9% ($31,531)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 36% ($38,640)
- Bachelor's degree: 14.9% ($44,954)
- Graduate or professional degree: 4.2% ($46,250)

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McGhiever // Wikimedia Commons

#28. Redwood County

- 19.1% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 9.1% ($23,833 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 37.4% ($30,009)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 34.4% ($35,822)
- Bachelor's degree: 14.7% ($47,431)
- Graduate or professional degree: 4.3% ($54,545)

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McGhiever // Wikimedia Commons

#27. Marshall County

- 19.1% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 10% ($30,380 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 36.9% ($35,856)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 34% ($37,265)
- Bachelor's degree: 14.4% ($49,583)
- Graduate or professional degree: 4.8% ($55,313)

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McGhiever // Wikimedia Commons

#26. Chippewa County

- 19% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 10.6% ($23,125 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 34.1% ($29,110)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 36.3% ($38,612)
- Bachelor's degree: 14.6% ($51,895)
- Graduate or professional degree: 4.4% ($58,594)

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Jet Lowe // Wikimedia Commons

#25. Lac qui Parle County

- 18.8% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 6.8% ($19,000 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 37% ($31,168)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 37.5% ($34,113)
- Bachelor's degree: 13.8% ($45,625)
- Graduate or professional degree: 4.9% ($63,598)

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Gobonobo // Wikimedia Commons

#24. Grant County

- 18.8% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 7.1% ($31,313 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 33.3% ($29,934)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 40.9% ($36,545)
- Bachelor's degree: 13.3% ($42,269)
- Graduate or professional degree: 5.4% ($48,438)

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Jonathunder // Wikimedia Commons

#23. Faribault County

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

- Less than high school diploma: 7.4% ($23,073 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 37.7% ($32,275)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 36.3% ($35,866)
- Bachelor's degree: 14.4% ($48,301)
- Graduate or professional degree: 4.1% ($59,244)

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McGhiever // Wikimedia Commons

#22. Isanti County

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

- Less than high school diploma: 7.4% ($31,109 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 34.6% ($41,308)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 39.4% ($44,779)
- Bachelor's degree: 12.9% ($54,257)
- Graduate or professional degree: 5.6% ($70,086)

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Elkman // Wikimedia Commons

#21. Aitkin County

- 18.1% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 8.7% ($26,081 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 36.9% ($27,033)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 36.4% ($32,480)
- Bachelor's degree: 12.7% ($43,594)
- Graduate or professional degree: 5.4% ($56,563)

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Bobak Ha'Eri // Wikimedia Commons

#20. McLeod County

- 17.6% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 6.9% ($20,728 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 36% ($35,890)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 39.5% ($39,300)
- Bachelor's degree: 12.6% ($55,280)
- Graduate or professional degree: 5% ($62,063)

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McGhiever // Wikimedia Commons

#19. Traverse County

- 17.5% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 6.8% ($40,357 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 35.4% ($26,250)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 40.4% ($32,713)
- Bachelor's degree: 12.2% ($48,125)
- Graduate or professional degree: 5.2% ($58,750)

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McGhiever // Wikimedia Commons

#18. Morrison County

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

- Less than high school diploma: 9.3% ($29,038 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 38.3% ($31,482)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 35.1% ($36,635)
- Bachelor's degree: 12.5% ($45,466)
- Graduate or professional degree: 4.8% ($61,444)

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w:User:Malepheasant // Wikimedia Commons

#17. Yellow Medicine County

- 17.2% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 8.7% ($30,625 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 35.4% ($32,053)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 38.6% ($35,445)
- Bachelor's degree: 12.9% ($42,188)
- Graduate or professional degree: 4.3% ($55,096)

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Jonathunder // Wikimedia Commons

#16. Freeborn County

- 17.1% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 11.2% ($25,955 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 35% ($31,725)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 36.6% ($37,679)
- Bachelor's degree: 12.3% ($48,809)
- Graduate or professional degree: 4.8% ($60,709)

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Myotus // Wikimedia Commons

#15. Clearwater County

- 17.1% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 13.9% ($31,989 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 34.9% ($31,100)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 34.1% ($35,417)
- Bachelor's degree: 13% ($42,986)
- Graduate or professional degree: 4.1% ($61,458)

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P199 // Wikimedia Commons

#14. Lake of the Woods County

- 16.7% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 7% ($20,938 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 38.6% ($28,917)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 37.7% ($27,044)
- Bachelor's degree: 13.3% ($44,837)
- Graduate or professional degree: 3.3% ($73,456)

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Elkman // Wikimedia Commons

#13. Sibley County

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

- Less than high school diploma: 9.3% ($23,836 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 39.2% ($36,687)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 35.1% ($43,092)
- Bachelor's degree: 12.6% ($51,276)
- Graduate or professional degree: 3.8% ($54,792)

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w:User:Malepheasant // Wikimedia Commons

#12. Red Lake County

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

- Less than high school diploma: 7.3% ($28,167 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 37.5% ($34,906)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 38.9% ($39,911)
- Bachelor's degree: 13% ($52,917)
- Graduate or professional degree: 3.2% ($47,500)

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Ed Lombard // Wikimedia Commons

#11. Koochiching County

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

- Less than high school diploma: 8.2% ($15,000 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 35.7% ($31,894)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 40.6% ($34,869)
- Bachelor's degree: 11.2% ($55,250)
- Graduate or professional degree: 4.3% ($87,866)

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Jatakuck // Wikimedia Commons

#10. Watonwan County

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

- Less than high school diploma: 15.6% ($33,981 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 41.3% ($30,638)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 27.8% ($36,593)
- Bachelor's degree: 11.7% ($45,817)
- Graduate or professional degree: 3.7% ($57,750)

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McGhiever // Wikimedia Commons

#9. Big Stone County

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

- Less than high school diploma: 7.4% ($21,563 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 45% ($30,742)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 32.2% ($35,952)
- Bachelor's degree: 10.9% ($44,444)
- Graduate or professional degree: 4.5% ($65,250)

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McGhiever // Wikimedia Commons

#8. Nobles County

- 15.3% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 23.8% ($31,295 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 31.3% ($31,046)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 29.6% ($37,316)
- Bachelor's degree: 11.1% ($42,037)
- Graduate or professional degree: 4.2% ($52,792)

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Tony Webster // Wikimedia Commons

#7. Renville County

- 15.2% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 9.5% ($28,814 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 36.6% ($33,853)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 38.7% ($38,320)
- Bachelor's degree: 11.7% ($48,258)
- Graduate or professional degree: 3.5% ($58,929)

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McGhiever // Wikimedia Commons

#6. Todd County

- 15.1% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 12.9% ($32,340 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 36.7% ($31,694)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 35.3% ($35,870)
- Bachelor's degree: 11% ($46,853)
- Graduate or professional degree: 4.1% ($50,313)

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ACNWelc // Wikimedia Commons

#5. Pine County

- 14.9% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 9.6% ($23,382 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 40.7% ($29,724)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 34.9% ($32,719)
- Bachelor's degree: 10.4% ($44,650)
- Graduate or professional degree: 4.5% ($59,331)

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w:User:Malepheasant // Wikimedia Commons

#4. Kanabec County

- 14.7% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 9.7% ($26,500 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 39.4% ($32,743)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 36.1% ($35,752)
- Bachelor's degree: 9.3% ($50,190)
- Graduate or professional degree: 5.4% ($62,650)

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McGhiever // Wikimedia Commons

#3. Mille Lacs County

- 14.7% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 10.1% ($24,243 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 38.6% ($31,740)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 36.5% ($38,899)
- Bachelor's degree: 10.2% ($51,285)
- Graduate or professional degree: 4.5% ($53,988)

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McGhiever // Wikimedia Commons

#2. Wadena County

- 13.8% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 9.4% ($25,288 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 37.1% ($29,808)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 39.7% ($32,531)
- Bachelor's degree: 10.4% ($39,722)
- Graduate or professional degree: 3.4% ($42,500)

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Andrew Filer (afiler) // Wikimedia Commons

#1. Mahnomen County

- 13.2% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 13.1% ($18,500 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 36.7% ($30,680)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 36.9% ($33,320)
- Bachelor's degree: 9.6% ($43,693)
- Graduate or professional degree: 3.6% ($61,250)

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