Least educated counties in Missouri

Written by:
May 14, 2022
Skye Marthaler, retouched by Kbh3rd // Wikimedia Commons

Least educated counties in Missouri

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 Missouri 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 Missouri.

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Jpjonesusn // Wikimedia Commons

#50. Bates County

- 16.1% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 12.6% ($18,438 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 44.2% ($33,338)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 27.1% ($31,141)
- Bachelor's degree: 10.7% ($43,278)
- Graduate or professional degree: 5.5% ($42,209)

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Kbh3rd // Wikimedia Commons

#49. Lawrence County

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

- Less than high school diploma: 15.3% ($25,221 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 38.7% ($26,581)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 29.9% ($30,825)
- Bachelor's degree: 10.9% ($39,748)
- Graduate or professional degree: 5.1% ($57,730)

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Kbh3rd // Wikimedia Commons

#48. Henry County

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

- Less than high school diploma: 12.2% ($21,318 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 40.7% ($28,299)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 31.3% ($33,182)
- Bachelor's degree: 10.6% ($39,672)
- Graduate or professional degree: 5.3% ($46,186)

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Kbh3rd // Wikimedia Commons

#47. Maries County

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

- Less than high school diploma: 13.5% ($29,891 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 40% ($30,670)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 30.6% ($34,333)
- Bachelor's degree: 11.3% ($42,031)
- Graduate or professional degree: 4.5% ($46,023)

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Parker Botanical // Wikimedia Commons

#46. Madison County

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

- Less than high school diploma: 15.6% ($25,536 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 36.5% ($30,412)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 32.4% ($29,346)
- Bachelor's degree: 10% ($39,205)
- Graduate or professional degree: 5.6% ($38,462)

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Kbh3rd // Wikimedia Commons

#45. Pike County

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

- Less than high school diploma: 15.8% ($21,214 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 47.6% ($27,612)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 21% ($32,050)
- Bachelor's degree: 11% ($38,305)
- Graduate or professional degree: 4.6% ($44,524)

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Kbh3rd // Wikimedia Commons

#44. Carter County

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

- Less than high school diploma: 15.2% ($22,177 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 43.2% ($26,952)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 26.2% ($27,695)
- Bachelor's degree: 9.5% ($56,000)
- Graduate or professional degree: 6% ($50,739)

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Steveewatkins // Wikimedia Commons

#43. Dent County

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

- Less than high school diploma: 16.8% ($21,193 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 41.4% ($29,633)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 26.5% ($32,461)
- Bachelor's degree: 10% ($32,314)
- Graduate or professional degree: 5.3% ($41,875)

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Kbh3rd // Wikimedia Commons

#42. Randolph County

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

- Less than high school diploma: 13.1% ($26,314 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 36.3% ($29,861)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 35.5% ($32,356)
- Bachelor's degree: 9.9% ($38,820)
- Graduate or professional degree: 5.2% ($45,878)

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Kbh3rd // Wikimedia Commons

#41. Ralls County

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

- Less than high school diploma: 10.3% ($19,327 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 49% ($32,009)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 25.8% ($34,449)
- Bachelor's degree: 9.8% ($39,118)
- Graduate or professional degree: 5.1% ($56,944)

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christopher friese // Wikimedia Commons

#40. Shannon County

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

- Less than high school diploma: 20% ($22,163 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 44.9% ($16,896)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 20.2% ($27,420)
- Bachelor's degree: 9.6% ($31,284)
- Graduate or professional degree: 5.2% ($41,250)

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Charles W. Chapman // Wikimedia Commons

#39. Audrain County

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

- Less than high school diploma: 13.8% ($19,545 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 45.8% ($25,892)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 25.7% ($31,235)
- Bachelor's degree: 9.7% ($38,514)
- Graduate or professional degree: 5% ($47,019)

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JERRYE & ROY KLOTZ MD // Wikimedia Commons

#38. Ray County

- 14.6% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 11.9% ($32,188 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 45.1% ($35,871)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 28.5% ($36,311)
- Bachelor's degree: 10.4% ($47,339)
- Graduate or professional degree: 4.2% ($54,575)

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M. Curtis // Shutterstock

#37. Laclede County

- 14.6% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 14.9% ($21,143 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 40.8% ($30,487)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 29.7% ($34,678)
- Bachelor's degree: 10.3% ($43,944)
- Graduate or professional degree: 4.3% ($50,353)

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Kbh3rd // Wikimedia Commons

#36. Barry County

- 14.6% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 16.4% ($24,758 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 41.3% ($30,295)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 27.7% ($31,436)
- Bachelor's degree: 9.9% ($45,901)
- Graduate or professional degree: 4.7% ($47,163)

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Kbh3rd // Wikimedia Commons

#35. Oregon County

- 14.6% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 16.9% ($13,583 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 43% ($23,462)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 25.5% ($26,915)
- Bachelor's degree: 9.9% ($35,729)
- Graduate or professional degree: 4.7% ($45,750)

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Paul Sableman // Wikimedia Commons

#34. St. Francois County

- 14.3% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 15.3% ($19,757 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 37.2% ($26,629)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 33.3% ($31,071)
- Bachelor's degree: 8.2% ($43,070)
- Graduate or professional degree: 6% ($56,199)

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Sector001 // Wikimedia Commons

#33. Scotland County

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

- Less than high school diploma: 20.1% ($31,538 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 41.5% ($33,000)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 24.2% ($31,678)
- Bachelor's degree: 10% ($44,250)
- Graduate or professional degree: 4.3% ($46,833)

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Kbh3rd // Wikimedia Commons

#32. Montgomery County

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

- Less than high school diploma: 14.7% ($29,130 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 44.7% ($36,625)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 26.5% ($32,190)
- Bachelor's degree: 8.8% ($44,706)
- Graduate or professional degree: 5.1% ($42,125)

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TommyBrison // Shutterstock

#31. St. Clair County

- 13.9% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 15.5% ($17,813 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 41.1% ($24,533)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 29.5% ($30,028)
- Bachelor's degree: 8.7% ($32,399)
- Graduate or professional degree: 5.2% ($37,566)

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1807060460JCM // Wikimedia Commons

#30. DeKalb County

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

- Less than high school diploma: 12.7% ($30,945 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 47.1% ($34,688)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 26.4% ($30,666)
- Bachelor's degree: 10.2% ($42,975)
- Graduate or professional degree: 3.6% ($50,987)

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Kbh3rd // Wikimedia Commons

#29. Dunklin County

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

- Less than high school diploma: 23.8% ($19,630 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 38.2% ($25,949)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 24.3% ($30,766)
- Bachelor's degree: 8.9% ($39,650)
- Graduate or professional degree: 4.9% ($45,068)

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Kbh3rd // Wikimedia Commons

#28. Reynolds County

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

- Less than high school diploma: 20.1% ($20,604 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 40.4% ($28,043)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 25.7% ($30,424)
- Bachelor's degree: 10% ($34,516)
- Graduate or professional degree: 3.7% ($44,091)

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Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#27. Lewis County

- 13.6% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 11.5% ($15,375 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 45.9% ($34,653)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 29% ($35,493)
- Bachelor's degree: 8.4% ($45,571)
- Graduate or professional degree: 5.2% ($49,464)

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Bungaloid // Wikimedia Commons

#26. Cedar County

- 13.6% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 12.3% ($18,359 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 41.2% ($27,367)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 32.9% ($25,656)
- Bachelor's degree: 8.6% ($31,812)
- Graduate or professional degree: 5.1% ($37,610)

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Kbh3rd // Wikimedia Commons

#25. Texas County

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

- Less than high school diploma: 16.3% ($17,148 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 38.6% ($27,292)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 31.5% ($28,633)
- Bachelor's degree: 9.7% ($31,046)
- Graduate or professional degree: 3.8% ($48,571)

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Skye Marthaler // Wikimedia Commons

#24. Butler County

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

- Less than high school diploma: 17% ($20,772 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 37.3% ($23,177)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 32.4% ($26,612)
- Bachelor's degree: 8.4% ($44,990)
- Graduate or professional degree: 4.9% ($62,829)

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Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#23. Stoddard County

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

- Less than high school diploma: 19.1% ($26,250 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 41.5% ($30,508)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 26.1% ($27,875)
- Bachelor's degree: 9.2% ($43,234)
- Graduate or professional degree: 4.1% ($47,651)

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Sector001 // Wikimedia Commons

#22. Morgan County

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

- Less than high school diploma: 21.9% ($26,397 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 38.1% ($26,306)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 26.7% ($27,197)
- Bachelor's degree: 8.7% ($40,074)
- Graduate or professional degree: 4.6% ($34,375)

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Brian Hunter // Wikimedia Commons

#21. Benton County

- 13% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 15.5% ($22,541 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 40.3% ($25,259)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 31.2% ($27,431)
- Bachelor's degree: 6.8% ($29,868)
- Graduate or professional degree: 6.2% ($46,667)

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Kbh3rd // Wikimedia Commons

#20. Dallas County

- 12.9% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 16.6% ($27,388 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 44.5% ($27,033)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 26% ($33,873)
- Bachelor's degree: 7% ($41,284)
- Graduate or professional degree: 5.9% ($38,926)

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Kbh3rd // Wikimedia Commons

#19. Clark County

- 12.8% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 13.7% ($21,838 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 43.5% ($31,924)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 29.9% ($25,990)
- Bachelor's degree: 7.7% ($44,926)
- Graduate or professional degree: 5.1% ($50,284)

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Kbh3rd // Wikimedia Commons

#18. Dade County

- 12.7% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 12.8% ($19,375 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 44.8% ($23,665)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 29.8% ($29,861)
- Bachelor's degree: 9.6% ($32,383)
- Graduate or professional degree: 3.1% ($38,304)

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Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#17. Pemiscot County

- 12.7% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 22.2% ($19,784 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 43.3% ($26,550)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 21.8% ($30,263)
- Bachelor's degree: 8.1% ($46,548)
- Graduate or professional degree: 4.6% ($42,862)

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Kbh3rd // Wikimedia Commons

#16. Schuyler County

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

- Less than high school diploma: 12.4% ($13,221 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 46.2% ($27,321)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 28.7% ($30,581)
- Bachelor's degree: 7.5% ($40,000)
- Graduate or professional degree: 5.1% ($49,750)

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Onegentlemanofverona // Wikimedia Commons

#15. Monroe County

- 12.4% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 10.7% ($31,364 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 48.4% ($32,059)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 28.4% ($25,931)
- Bachelor's degree: 8.8% ($39,148)
- Graduate or professional degree: 3.6% ($41,875)

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Joseph Sohm // Shutterstock

#14. New Madrid County

- 12.1% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 21.2% ($25,069 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 46.7% ($29,862)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 20% ($31,893)
- Bachelor's degree: 6.4% ($43,073)
- Graduate or professional degree: 5.7% ($49,653)

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Charvex // Wikimedia Commons

#13. Sullivan County

- 11.7% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 15.7% ($37,063 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 50.2% ($28,125)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 22.4% ($31,776)
- Bachelor's degree: 7% ($40,781)
- Graduate or professional degree: 4.7% ($47,976)

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Kbh3rd // Wikimedia Commons

#12. Crawford County

- 11.5% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 22.1% ($18,929 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 39.1% ($28,972)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 27.3% ($34,173)
- Bachelor's degree: 7.9% ($39,554)
- Graduate or professional degree: 3.7% ($50,139)

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JERRYE & ROY KLOTZ MD // Wikimedia Commons

#11. McDonald County

- 11.5% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 22.5% ($25,833 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 41.3% ($31,319)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 24.7% ($31,800)
- Bachelor's degree: 8% ($36,444)
- Graduate or professional degree: 3.5% ($52,813)

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Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#10. Mississippi County

- 11.5% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 24.3% ($12,459 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 41.8% ($26,531)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 22.3% ($29,236)
- Bachelor's degree: 7.3% ($43,341)
- Graduate or professional degree: 4.2% ($46,415)

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Kbh3rd // Wikimedia Commons

#9. Ozark County

- 11% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 17.7% ($16,607 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 43.4% ($21,365)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 28% ($28,356)
- Bachelor's degree: 6.5% ($28,529)
- Graduate or professional degree: 4.5% ($34,583)

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Vsmith // Wikimedia Commons

#8. Douglas County

- 10.8% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 17.9% ($27,130 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 44% ($26,999)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 27.3% ($30,358)
- Bachelor's degree: 7.4% ($39,792)
- Graduate or professional degree: 3.5% ($48,438)

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Kbh3rd // Wikimedia Commons

#7. Iron County

- 10.8% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 18.5% ($12,917 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 41.4% ($24,494)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 29.3% ($29,856)
- Bachelor's degree: 7.6% ($39,625)
- Graduate or professional degree: 3.2% ($47,500)

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Kbh3rd // Wikimedia Commons

#6. Wright County

- 10.2% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 19.6% ($22,007 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 45.5% ($23,571)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 24.7% ($24,989)
- Bachelor's degree: 6.8% ($29,688)
- Graduate or professional degree: 3.4% ($49,492)

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Dean Sebourn // Wikimedia Commons

#5. Ripley County

- 10.2% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 20% ($16,300 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 42.3% ($21,283)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 27.5% ($21,605)
- Bachelor's degree: 7.2% ($37,981)
- Graduate or professional degree: 2.9% ($52,277)

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Americasroof // Wikimedia Commons

#4. Washington County

- 9.9% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 23.1% ($18,657 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 37.4% ($31,291)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 29.7% ($27,557)
- Bachelor's degree: 6.3% ($36,708)
- Graduate or professional degree: 3.6% ($51,000)

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Kbh3rd // Wikimedia Commons

#3. Wayne County

- 9.6% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 23.8% ($16,922 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 39% ($24,577)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 27.7% ($33,326)
- Bachelor's degree: 6% ($37,298)
- Graduate or professional degree: 3.6% ($45,588)

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Kbh3rd // Wikimedia Commons

#2. Hickory County

- 9% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 15.7% ($16,563 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 44.5% ($23,309)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 30.8% ($23,120)
- Bachelor's degree: 5.9%
- Graduate or professional degree: 3% ($35,625)

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Skye Marthaler, retouched by Kbh3rd // Wikimedia Commons

#1. Bollinger County

- 8.9% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 20.2% ($15,938 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 47.3% ($31,755)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 23.6% ($28,694)
- Bachelor's degree: 6.1% ($39,091)
- Graduate or professional degree: 2.8% ($43,661)

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