Least educated counties in Virginia

Written by:
November 13, 2021
Taber Andrew Bain // Wikimedia Commons

Least educated counties in Virginia

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 Virginia 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 Virginia.

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Ser Amantio di Nicolao // Wikimedia Commons

#50. Surry County

- 20.6% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 15.1% ($18,287 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 36.2% ($41,557)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 28.1% ($37,865)
- Bachelor's degree: 13.5% ($45,025)
- Graduate or professional degree: 7.1% ($47,500)

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Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#49. Shenandoah County

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

- Less than high school diploma: 13% ($29,869 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 37.9% ($32,235)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 28.6% ($32,444)
- Bachelor's degree: 14% ($44,455)
- Graduate or professional degree: 6.6% ($60,485)

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Cnjnva // Wikimedia Commons

#48. Mecklenburg County

- 20.2% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 18.1% ($19,177 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 31.8% ($27,284)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 30% ($30,742)
- Bachelor's degree: 14.2% ($40,947)
- Graduate or professional degree: 6% ($46,813)

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Skye Marthaler // Wikimedia Commons

#47. Pulaski County

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

- Less than high school diploma: 12.5% ($22,067 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 33.2% ($29,642)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 34.2% ($38,480)
- Bachelor's degree: 12.1% ($44,713)
- Graduate or professional degree: 7.9% ($50,192)

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Pubdog // Wikimedia Commons

#46. Caroline County

- 19.9% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 14.9% ($20,924 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 37.7% ($36,124)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 27.5% ($43,856)
- Bachelor's degree: 13.2% ($50,701)
- Graduate or professional degree: 6.7% ($60,791)

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Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#45. Petersburg city

- 19.8% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 17.2% ($17,491 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 35.7% ($25,744)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 27.3% ($31,015)
- Bachelor's degree: 11.6% ($46,236)
- Graduate or professional degree: 8.2% ($49,313)

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Acroterion // Wikimedia Commons

#44. Accomack County

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

- Less than high school diploma: 18.5% ($21,504 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 36.7% ($26,030)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 25.3% ($35,225)
- Bachelor's degree: 11.3% ($41,215)
- Graduate or professional degree: 8.2% ($53,591)

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Greenjettaguy82 // Wikimedia Commons

#43. Westmoreland County

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

- Less than high school diploma: 15.5% ($23,875 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 33.8% ($28,877)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 31.5% ($36,723)
- Bachelor's degree: 12.3% ($56,157)
- Graduate or professional degree: 6.9% ($87,083)

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Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#42. Franklin city

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

- Less than high school diploma: 13.7% ($22,643 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 29.1% ($30,260)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 38.1% ($34,434)
- Bachelor's degree: 12% ($39,808)
- Graduate or professional degree: 7.1% ($45,659)

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Taber Andrew Bain // Wikimedia Commons

#41. Amherst County

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

- Less than high school diploma: 14.4% ($24,511 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 36% ($27,271)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 30.5% ($40,440)
- Bachelor's degree: 12.9% ($46,673)
- Graduate or professional degree: 6.2% ($51,646)

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Skye Marthaler // Wikimedia Commons

#40. Wythe County

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

- Less than high school diploma: 13.9% ($24,181 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 37.9% ($30,458)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 29.3% ($33,099)
- Bachelor's degree: 11.2% ($43,071)
- Graduate or professional degree: 7.8% ($51,460)

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Cecouchman // Wikimedia Commons

#39. Dinwiddie County

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

- Less than high school diploma: 16.9% ($21,250 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 36% ($35,305)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 28.5% ($40,622)
- Bachelor's degree: 12.2% ($43,786)
- Graduate or professional degree: 6.4% ($51,340)

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Puddin Tain // Wikimedia Commons

#38. Southampton County

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

- Less than high school diploma: 15.2% ($17,473 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 29.8% ($25,867)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 36.6% ($40,594)
- Bachelor's degree: 12% ($46,413)
- Graduate or professional degree: 6.4% ($56,688)

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Skye Marthaler // Wikimedia Commons

#37. Giles County

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

- Less than high school diploma: 11% ($31,047 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 38.7% ($32,479)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 32.1% ($35,361)
- Bachelor's degree: 11.8% ($46,410)
- Graduate or professional degree: 6.3% ($60,000)

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David Broad // Wikimedia Commons

#36. Richmond County

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

- Less than high school diploma: 19.4% ($25,938 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 35.4% ($29,841)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 27.5% ($31,784)
- Bachelor's degree: 11.4% ($36,250)
- Graduate or professional degree: 6.3% ($51,442)

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Acroterion // Wikimedia Commons

#35. Danville city

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

- Less than high school diploma: 18.2% ($16,419 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 31.5% ($26,139)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 32.6% ($26,882)
- Bachelor's degree: 11.1% ($41,932)
- Graduate or professional degree: 6.5% ($53,297)

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Mojo Hand // Wikimedia Commons

#34. Essex County

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

- Less than high school diploma: 17.6% ($31,250 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 37.7% ($31,311)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 27.3% ($33,906)
- Bachelor's degree: 12.7% ($41,548)
- Graduate or professional degree: 4.7% ($54,570)

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Taber Andrew Bain from Richmond, VA, USA // Wikimedia Commons

#33. Amelia County

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

- Less than high school diploma: 16.1% ($31,426 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 40.8% ($37,346)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 26% ($45,712)
- Bachelor's degree: 10.9% ($49,778)
- Graduate or professional degree: 6.2% ($74,167)

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Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#32. Bath County

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

- Less than high school diploma: 9.6% ($30,750 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 42.9% ($31,458)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 31.5% ($44,773)
- Bachelor's degree: 11.3% ($46,250)
- Graduate or professional degree: 4.6% ($59,038)

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Carol M. Highsmith // Wikimedia Commons

#31. Buena Vista city

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

- Less than high school diploma: 18.9% ($22,933 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 40.3% ($19,043)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 24.9% ($30,084)
- Bachelor's degree: 8.3% ($25,798)
- Graduate or professional degree: 7.7% ($62,028)

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Smash the Iron Cage // Wikimedia Commons

#30. Covington city

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

- Less than high school diploma: 12.6% ($41,417 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 44.4% ($23,125)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 27.3% ($32,141)
- Bachelor's degree: 10.4% ($38,068)
- Graduate or professional degree: 5.2% ($48,594)

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vastateparksstaff // Wikimedia Commons

#29. Halifax County

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

- Less than high school diploma: 18.6% ($16,786 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 36% ($31,392)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 30.1% ($34,312)
- Bachelor's degree: 10.3% ($46,900)
- Graduate or professional degree: 5.1% ($51,825)

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Jquesen2003 // Wikimedia Commons

#28. Patrick County

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

- Less than high school diploma: 19.8% ($26,782 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 34.8% ($26,584)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 30.2% ($31,013)
- Bachelor's degree: 9.3% ($43,245)
- Graduate or professional degree: 5.9% ($52,202)

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Jarek Tuszyński // Wikimedia Commons

#27. Alleghany County

- 15% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 14% ($18,634 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 40.3% ($31,210)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 30.6% ($39,568)
- Bachelor's degree: 9.1% ($44,700)
- Graduate or professional degree: 5.9% ($56,719)

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Ceh2624 // Wikimedia Commons

#26. Carroll County

- 15% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 19.2% ($22,734 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 36% ($29,000)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 29.8% ($33,322)
- Bachelor's degree: 10.7% ($33,456)
- Graduate or professional degree: 4.3% ($43,981)

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Skye Marthaler // Wikimedia Commons

#25. Wise County

- 15% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 24.1% ($19,250 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 29.7% ($26,936)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 31.3% ($31,088)
- Bachelor's degree: 9.3% ($40,565)
- Graduate or professional degree: 5.6% ($59,313)

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Taber Andrew Bain from Richmond, VA, USA // Wikimedia Commons

#24. Cumberland County

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

- Less than high school diploma: 16.5% ($26,161 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 38.1% ($28,893)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 30.5% ($33,586)
- Bachelor's degree: 7.3% ($43,320)
- Graduate or professional degree: 7.6% ($41,500)

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Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#23. Tazewell County

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

- Less than high school diploma: 18.3% ($19,472 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 36.5% ($28,319)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 30.4% ($31,492)
- Bachelor's degree: 9.4% ($40,618)
- Graduate or professional degree: 5.5% ($54,337)

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Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#22. Hopewell city

- 14.8% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 18.7% ($20,943 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 36.7% ($27,223)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 29.8% ($35,568)
- Bachelor's degree: 10.5% ($41,079)
- Graduate or professional degree: 4.3% ($48,359)

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Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#21. Nottoway County

- 14.8% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 20.3% ($17,816 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 37.7% ($30,785)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 27.2% ($31,927)
- Bachelor's degree: 8.9% ($42,198)
- Graduate or professional degree: 5.8% ($67,232)

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Cyoung9 // Wikimedia Commons

#20. Galax city

- 14.8% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 24.4% ($19,267 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 30.4% ($17,745)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 30.5% ($30,741)
- Bachelor's degree: 8.3% ($51,932)
- Graduate or professional degree: 6.5% ($52,841)

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Mojo Hand // Wikimedia Commons

#19. Charles City County

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

- Less than high school diploma: 20.2% ($31,146 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 38.3% ($38,636)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 26.7% ($40,913)
- Bachelor's degree: 9.6% ($45,769)
- Graduate or professional degree: 5.1% ($75,114)

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JERRYE & ROY KLOTZ MD // Wikimedia Commons

#18. Smyth County

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

- Less than high school diploma: 16.7% ($18,147 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 37.7% ($25,878)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 31% ($30,323)
- Bachelor's degree: 9.5% ($41,927)
- Graduate or professional degree: 5.1% ($57,250)

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Idawriter // Wikimedia Commons

#17. Pittsylvania County

- 14.5% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 17.3% ($22,953 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 35% ($30,246)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 33.1% ($31,051)
- Bachelor's degree: 9.7% ($43,151)
- Graduate or professional degree: 4.9% ($49,306)

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Skye Marthaler // Wikimedia Commons

#16. Bland County

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

- Less than high school diploma: 11.4% ($35,298 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 42.4% ($30,215)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 32% ($27,444)
- Bachelor's degree: 10.5% ($58,361)
- Graduate or professional degree: 3.7% ($54,423)

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Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#15. Henry County

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

- Less than high school diploma: 19.9% ($21,847 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 34.2% ($23,767)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 31.9% ($32,150)
- Bachelor's degree: 9.1% ($41,389)
- Graduate or professional degree: 4.9% ($56,750)

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DanTD // Wikimedia Commons

#14. Emporia city

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

- Less than high school diploma: 20.6% ($21,786 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 33.8% ($26,213)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 31.8% ($24,147)
- Bachelor's degree: 10.8% ($36,098)
- Graduate or professional degree: 3% ($63,750)

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Cecouchman // Wikimedia Commons

#13. Page County

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

- Less than high school diploma: 17.3% ($22,264 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 45.5% ($30,453)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 23.5% ($32,486)
- Bachelor's degree: 9% ($48,385)
- Graduate or professional degree: 4.7% ($57,936)

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Calstanhope // Wikimedia Commons

#12. Grayson County

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

- Less than high school diploma: 18.7% ($18,972 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 37.2% ($26,979)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 30.2% ($28,295)
- Bachelor's degree: 9.6% ($30,764)
- Graduate or professional degree: 4.2% ($39,375)

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Jerrye & Roy Klotz, MD // Wikimedia Commons

#11. Brunswick County

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

- Less than high school diploma: 21.5% ($17,200 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 36.4% ($30,798)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 28.6% ($30,612)
- Bachelor's degree: 8.2% ($32,325)
- Graduate or professional degree: 5.4% ($51,708)

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Skye Marthaler // Wikimedia Commons

#10. Scott County

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

- Less than high school diploma: 18.6% ($25,234 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 38.1% ($25,351)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 30% ($33,138)
- Bachelor's degree: 8.2% ($46,926)
- Graduate or professional degree: 5.1% ($57,083)

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Puddin Tain // Wikimedia Commons

#9. Sussex County

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

- Less than high school diploma: 19.7% ($13,622 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 42.5% ($26,814)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 25.1% ($32,891)
- Bachelor's degree: 8.8% ($37,619)
- Graduate or professional degree: 3.9% ($53,542)

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Taber Andrew Bain from Richmond, VA, USA // Wikimedia Commons

#8. Buckingham County

- 12.5% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 20.2% ($25,938 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 42.8% ($26,986)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 24.6% ($34,934)
- Bachelor's degree: 7.4% ($47,500)
- Graduate or professional degree: 5.1% ($45,870)

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Doug Kerr // Wikimedia Commons

#7. Russell County

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

- Less than high school diploma: 19.7% ($26,759 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 38% ($25,510)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 30% ($35,924)
- Bachelor's degree: 9.1% ($49,593)
- Graduate or professional degree: 3.1% ($50,000)

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Tburgess68 // Wikimedia Commons

#6. Buchanan County

- 11.8% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 30% ($21,310 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 35.1% ($30,127)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 23.2% ($32,939)
- Bachelor's degree: 6.7% ($46,500)
- Graduate or professional degree: 5% ($52,813)

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Rhyssdavies // Wikimedia Commons

#5. Lunenburg County

- 11.3% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 22.2% ($35,635 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 40.4% ($29,346)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 26.1% ($31,474)
- Bachelor's degree: 8.3% ($36,136)
- Graduate or professional degree: 3% ($54,625)

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pfly // Wikimedia Commons

#4. Lee County

- 11.2% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 23.3% ($18,644 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 34.5% ($22,567)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 31.1% ($29,408)
- Bachelor's degree: 8.3% ($39,331)
- Graduate or professional degree: 2.9% ($45,625)

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Ser Amantio di Nicolao // Wikimedia Commons

#3. Charlotte County

- 10.9% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 16.7% ($20,559 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 40.4% ($22,190)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 32% ($31,298)
- Bachelor's degree: 7.1% ($40,861)
- Graduate or professional degree: 3.7% ($51,307)

49 / 50
Nathan Yates // Wikimedia Commons

#2. Dickenson County

- 10.7% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 22.6% ($21,735 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 38.5% ($28,051)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 28.1% ($32,839)
- Bachelor's degree: 7.4% ($46,146)
- Graduate or professional degree: 3.4% ($54,181)

50 / 50
Taber Andrew Bain // Wikimedia Commons

#1. Greensville County

- 9.2% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 22.2% ($19,453 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 41.3% ($26,376)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 27.4% ($30,354)
- Bachelor's degree: 6.1% ($39,457)
- Graduate or professional degree: 3% ($59,185)

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