Least educated counties in New York

Written by:
May 14, 2022
Jimmy Emerson // Wikimedia Commons

Least educated counties in New York

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 New York 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 a high school diploma.

Keep reading for a look at the least-educated counties in New York.

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littlenySTOCK // Shutterstock

#50. Onondaga County

- 35.9% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 9% ($25,056 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 25.4% ($33,756)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 29.7% ($39,563)
- Bachelor's degree: 20% ($55,485)
- Graduate or professional degree: 15.9% ($68,099)

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Colin D. Young // Shutterstock

#49. Dutchess County

- 35% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 8.9% ($25,302 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 26.8% ($35,457)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 29.3% ($43,347)
- Bachelor's degree: 19% ($61,644)
- Graduate or professional degree: 16% ($86,078)

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#48. Erie County

- 34.4% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 8.2% ($22,494 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 27.6% ($31,779)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 29.9% ($37,770)
- Bachelor's degree: 19.4% ($53,103)
- Graduate or professional degree: 14.9% ($64,190)

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Roman Babakin // Shutterstock

#47. Staten Island

- 33.9% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 11.3% ($26,164 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 30.4% ($41,285)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 24.5% ($49,408)
- Bachelor's degree: 20.2% ($65,981)
- Graduate or professional degree: 13.7% ($78,147)

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Daniel Case // Wikimedia Commons

#46. Columbia County

- 32.7% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 9.7% ($26,774 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 30% ($31,995)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 27.6% ($38,625)
- Bachelor's degree: 17.2% ($49,022)
- Graduate or professional degree: 15.5% ($64,000)

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Fred Hsu // Wikimedia Commons

#45. Ulster County

- 32.5% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 9.3% ($23,887 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 29.7% ($32,616)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 28.5% ($37,570)
- Bachelor's degree: 17.4% ($50,192)
- Graduate or professional degree: 15.1% ($67,823)

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Bjoertvedt // Wikimedia Commons

#44. Queens County

- 32.2% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 18% ($24,406 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 27.5% ($31,762)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 22.3% ($41,124)
- Bachelor's degree: 20.2% ($55,483)
- Graduate or professional degree: 11.9% ($73,134)

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UpstateNYer // Wikimedia Commons

#43. Schenectady County

- 32.1% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 9.3% ($23,485 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 29.5% ($31,126)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 29.1% ($39,960)
- Bachelor's degree: 18.5% ($54,007)
- Graduate or professional degree: 13.6% ($73,106)

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Matt H. Wade // Wikimedia Commons

#42. Rensselaer County

- 32% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 8.2% ($25,023 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 29% ($36,384)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 30.9% ($44,039)
- Bachelor's degree: 18% ($57,901)
- Graduate or professional degree: 14% ($69,880)

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Gbklyn // Wikimedia Commons

#41. Warren County

- 31.3% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 8.1% ($26,661 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 30.6% ($31,930)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 30% ($38,927)
- Bachelor's degree: 16.7% ($48,193)
- Graduate or professional degree: 14.7% ($64,896)

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#40. Otsego County

- 31.1% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 8.3% ($22,986 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 31.3% ($31,124)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 29.4% ($32,363)
- Bachelor's degree: 16.9% ($36,809)
- Graduate or professional degree: 14.2% ($56,901)

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Mwanner // Wikimedia Commons

#39. Orange County

- 30.3% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 10.3% ($26,389 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 29.3% ($36,995)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 30.1% ($44,865)
- Bachelor's degree: 17.4% ($65,832)
- Graduate or professional degree: 12.9% ($83,962)

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#38. Broome County

- 28.4% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 9.3% ($22,407 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 31.5% ($29,476)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 30.9% ($35,126)
- Bachelor's degree: 15.4% ($50,784)
- Graduate or professional degree: 12.9% ($61,278)

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Stef Ko // Shutterstock

#37. Cortland County

- 28% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 9.3% ($27,031 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 32.1% ($31,197)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 30.7% ($38,174)
- Bachelor's degree: 15.6% ($48,817)
- Graduate or professional degree: 12.3% ($56,090)

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#36. Essex County

- 26.8% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 8.5% ($24,355 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 34.4% ($30,079)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 30.2% ($32,585)
- Bachelor's degree: 15% ($40,770)
- Graduate or professional degree: 11.8% ($56,840)

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Benjamin D. Esham (bdesham) // Wikimedia Commons

#35. Livingston County

- 26.5% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 9.4% ($28,086 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 31.9% ($36,985)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 32.3% ($40,122)
- Bachelor's degree: 14.4% ($52,571)
- Graduate or professional degree: 12.1% ($61,159)

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Colgate University // Wikimedia Commons

#34. Madison County

- 26.2% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 7.9% ($31,324 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 34.8% ($33,132)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 31% ($39,069)
- Bachelor's degree: 15% ($50,922)
- Graduate or professional degree: 11.2% ($65,059)

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WCohen // Shutterstock

#33. Tioga County

- 26% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 8.8% ($22,051 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 35.9% ($32,823)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 29.2% ($37,913)
- Bachelor's degree: 16% ($63,232)
- Graduate or professional degree: 10% ($61,743)

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Nina Alizada // Shutterstock

#32. Oneida County

- 25.7% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 11.5% ($21,453 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 31.9% ($31,381)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 30.8% ($37,318)
- Bachelor's degree: 15.2% ($50,844)
- Graduate or professional degree: 10.6% ($64,355)

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PQK // Shuterstock

#31. Yates County

- 25.2% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 13.6% ($36,227 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 32.6% ($30,286)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 28.5% ($33,829)
- Bachelor's degree: 14.2% ($38,597)
- Graduate or professional degree: 11% ($56,736)

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Eric Richards // Wikimedia Commons

#30. Sullivan County

- 24.8% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 13.3% ($23,792 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 33.8% ($31,558)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 28.1% ($39,568)
- Bachelor's degree: 13.6% ($46,000)
- Graduate or professional degree: 11.2% ($62,348)

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Mihai_Andritoiu // Shutterstock

#29. Niagara County

- 24.6% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 8.8% ($22,643 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 33.2% ($32,276)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 33.4% ($38,916)
- Bachelor's degree: 14.2% ($53,630)
- Graduate or professional degree: 10.4% ($63,387)

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P199 // Wikimedia Commons

#28. St. Lawrence County

- 23.8% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 11.3% ($19,547 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 36.8% ($28,332)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 28.1% ($37,188)
- Bachelor's degree: 11.9% ($49,897)
- Graduate or professional degree: 11.9% ($59,050)

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Marduk // Wikimedia Commons

#27. Steuben County

- 23.6% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 9.5% ($20,993 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 36.7% ($30,551)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 30.1% ($34,240)
- Bachelor's degree: 12.1% ($49,232)
- Graduate or professional degree: 11.5% ($64,094)

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Lamar Gore/USFWS // Wikimedia Commons

#26. Schuyler County

- 23.5% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 9.6% ($22,371 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 33.5% ($30,944)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 33.5% ($38,156)
- Bachelor's degree: 13.3% ($37,083)
- Graduate or professional degree: 10.2% ($53,438)

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Lvklock // Wikimedia Commons

#25. Chemung County

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

- Less than high school diploma: 9.8% ($23,051 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 35.3% ($31,331)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 31.7% ($34,938)
- Bachelor's degree: 12.7% ($49,464)
- Graduate or professional degree: 10.6% ($65,857)

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Richard Cavalleri // Shutterstock

#24. Clinton County

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

- Less than high school diploma: 12.3% ($26,026 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 37.7% ($32,150)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 27.1% ($37,525)
- Bachelor's degree: 12% ($52,056)
- Graduate or professional degree: 10.9% ($61,986)

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Andre Carrotflower // Wikimedia Commons

#23. Wayne County

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

- Less than high school diploma: 10.9% ($27,596 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 33.7% ($31,397)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 32.8% ($36,886)
- Bachelor's degree: 13.1% ($51,001)
- Graduate or professional degree: 9.6% ($58,513)

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Doug Kerr // Wikimedia Commons

#22. Delaware County

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

- Less than high school diploma: 11.1% ($23,883 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 37.6% ($29,134)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 28.7% ($33,827)
- Bachelor's degree: 12.6% ($39,965)
- Graduate or professional degree: 10% ($57,109)

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PQK // Shuterstock

#21. Cayuga County

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

- Less than high school diploma: 12.3% ($27,266 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 33.3% ($32,997)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 31.9% ($38,722)
- Bachelor's degree: 13.9% ($51,351)
- Graduate or professional degree: 8.7% ($65,960)

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Reilchey27 // Wikimedia Commons

#20. Schoharie County

- 22.4% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 10.3% ($22,601 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 35.7% ($35,981)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 31.5% ($38,505)
- Bachelor's degree: 13.2% ($41,173)
- Graduate or professional degree: 9.3% ($61,897)

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Daniel Case // Wikimedia Commons

#19. Genesee County

- 22.3% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 7.7% ($25,769 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 36% ($31,640)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 34% ($38,348)
- Bachelor's degree: 13.3% ($47,128)
- Graduate or professional degree: 9% ($61,733)

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Wangkun Jia // Shutterstock

#18. Jefferson County

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

- Less than high school diploma: 9% ($21,417 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 34.7% ($29,273)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 34% ($35,064)
- Bachelor's degree: 13.4% ($47,478)
- Graduate or professional degree: 8.9% ($63,214)

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Andre Carrotflower // Wikimedia Commons

#17. Chautauqua County

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

- Less than high school diploma: 11.1% ($21,403 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 35.5% ($30,262)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 31% ($32,494)
- Bachelor's degree: 12.5% ($41,510)
- Graduate or professional degree: 9.7% ($59,536)

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#16. Greene County

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

- Less than high school diploma: 13.3% ($21,852 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 38.7% ($32,922)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 25.9% ($38,471)
- Bachelor's degree: 12.3% ($44,271)
- Graduate or professional degree: 9.7% ($63,819)

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Doug Kerr from Upstate New York // Wikimedia Commons

#15. Herkimer County

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

- Less than high school diploma: 10.1% ($29,095 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 36.9% ($31,171)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 31.5% ($33,443)
- Bachelor's degree: 12.2% ($48,840)
- Graduate or professional degree: 9.3% ($56,433)

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marjobani // Wikimedia Commons

#14. Seneca County

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

- Less than high school diploma: 15.2% ($23,387 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 35.2% ($30,721)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 28.5% ($36,250)
- Bachelor's degree: 11.7% ($44,790)
- Graduate or professional degree: 9.3% ($57,972)

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Andre Carrotflower // Wikimedia Commons

#13. Allegany County

- 20.9% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 9.2% ($24,635 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 36.7% ($30,040)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 33.2% ($31,945)
- Bachelor's degree: 10.6% ($36,503)
- Graduate or professional degree: 10.3% ($54,193)

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UpstateNYer // Wikimedia Commons

#12. Washington County

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

- Less than high school diploma: 12.1% ($24,212 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 38.7% ($31,830)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 28.7% ($36,838)
- Bachelor's degree: 11.7% ($45,946)
- Graduate or professional degree: 8.8% ($57,554)

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Gryffindor // Wikimedia Commons

#11. Bronx County

- 20.1% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 27.2% ($21,163 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 27.9% ($27,650)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 24.8% ($33,694)
- Bachelor's degree: 12.9% ($46,809)
- Graduate or professional degree: 7.2% ($64,845)

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Pubdog // Wikimedia Commons

#10. Cattaraugus County

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

- Less than high school diploma: 11.1% ($24,717 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 39.2% ($30,252)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 30.6% ($33,413)
- Bachelor's degree: 10.3% ($46,617)
- Graduate or professional degree: 8.8% ($55,192)

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Mwanner // Wikimedia Commons

#9. Franklin County

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

- Less than high school diploma: 12.6% ($26,385 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 37.7% ($33,859)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 30.6% ($35,616)
- Bachelor's degree: 9.9% ($48,706)
- Graduate or professional degree: 9.2% ($61,237)

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Wangkun Jia // Shutterstock

#8. Oswego County

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

- Less than high school diploma: 11.8% ($24,224 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 37.5% ($32,342)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 31.8% ($38,035)
- Bachelor's degree: 11.1% ($46,244)
- Graduate or professional degree: 7.9% ($66,760)

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Daniel Case // Wikimedia Commons

#7. Chenango County

- 18.7% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 12% ($25,147 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 39% ($30,407)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 30.5% ($37,671)
- Bachelor's degree: 10.5% ($42,805)
- Graduate or professional degree: 8.2% ($56,258)

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North woodsman // Shutterstock

#6. Lewis County

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

- Less than high school diploma: 9.8% ($26,599 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 44.7% ($30,909)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 27.1% ($38,471)
- Bachelor's degree: 10.5% ($45,870)
- Graduate or professional degree: 7.9% ($59,688)

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Beyond My Ken // Wikimedia Commons

#5. Fulton County

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

- Less than high school diploma: 12.7% ($23,482 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 35.7% ($31,070)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 33.5% ($35,022)
- Bachelor's degree: 9.8% ($44,264)
- Graduate or professional degree: 8.4% ($60,644)

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Jwilson855 // Wikimedia Commons

#4. Montgomery County

- 17.8% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 13.2% ($21,726 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 35.4% ($32,296)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 33.7% ($34,917)
- Bachelor's degree: 10.3% ($51,399)
- Graduate or professional degree: 7.5% ($63,262)

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Kenneth C. Zirkel // Wikimedia Commons

#3. Wyoming County

- 17.7% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 10.1% ($24,688 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 40% ($33,031)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 32.2% ($39,181)
- Bachelor's degree: 11.1% ($44,288)
- Graduate or professional degree: 6.6% ($54,738)

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Mwanner // Wikimedia Commons

#2. Hamilton County

- 16.8% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 22.5%
- High school graduate: 27.2% ($30,491)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 33.4% ($35,380)
- Bachelor's degree: 9.1% ($34,278)
- Graduate or professional degree: 7.8% ($32,344)

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Jimmy Emerson // Wikimedia Commons

#1. Orleans County

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

- Less than high school diploma: 12.2% ($25,133 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 38.3% ($31,787)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 33.2% ($37,186)
- Bachelor's degree: 10.2% ($51,897)
- Graduate or professional degree: 5.9% ($55,536)

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