Least educated counties in Washington

Written by:
May 14, 2022
Joe Mabel // Wikimedia Commons

Least educated counties in Washington

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 Washington 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 Washington.

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kan_khampanya // Shutterstock

#39. King County

- 52.5% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 6.9% ($29,198 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 15% ($36,199)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 25.6% ($43,630)
- Bachelor's degree: 31.4% ($70,934)
- Graduate or professional degree: 21.1% ($92,801)

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Jelson25 // Wikimedia Commons

#38. San Juan County

- 49.8% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 4.1% ($26,736 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 16% ($34,509)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 30.1% ($32,296)
- Bachelor's degree: 29.4% ($35,963)
- Graduate or professional degree: 20.4% ($46,419)

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Ilyaunfois // Wikimedia Commons

#37. Whitman County

- 49.8% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 4.6% ($30,069 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 15.9% ($35,370)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 29.8% ($31,745)
- Bachelor's degree: 25.4% ($40,045)
- Graduate or professional degree: 24.4% ($45,495)

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Adbar // Wikimedia Commons

#36. Jefferson County

- 44.3% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 4.9% ($24,242 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 20.7% ($31,370)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 30.1% ($27,152)
- Bachelor's degree: 24.4% ($29,883)
- Graduate or professional degree: 19.9% ($42,338)

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Joe Mabel // Wikicommons

#35. Thurston County

- 35.7% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 6.3% ($27,922 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 21.3% ($33,800)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 36.8% ($40,900)
- Bachelor's degree: 21.9% ($54,173)
- Graduate or professional degree: 13.9% ($70,240)

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Nick Kelly / Faithlife Corporation

#34. Whatcom County

- 34.3% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 7.2% ($30,398 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 23.4% ($36,780)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 35.2% ($36,819)
- Bachelor's degree: 22% ($45,205)
- Graduate or professional degree: 12.2% ($63,857)

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Joe Mabel // Wikimedia Commons

#33. Island County

- 33.6% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 4.7% ($29,739 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 21.7% ($35,466)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 40.1% ($38,866)
- Bachelor's degree: 20% ($49,596)
- Graduate or professional degree: 13.6% ($61,957)

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Dcoetzee // Wikimedia Commons

#32. Kitsap County

- 33.2% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 5.2% ($29,603 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 22.2% ($34,128)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 39.5% ($42,084)
- Bachelor's degree: 21.7% ($58,699)
- Graduate or professional degree: 11.5% ($76,171)

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SounderBruce // Wikimedia Commons

#31. Snohomish County

- 32.8% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 7.7% ($31,996 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 23.3% ($40,782)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 36.2% ($46,847)
- Bachelor's degree: 22.2% ($66,094)
- Graduate or professional degree: 10.6% ($84,623)

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MrX // Wikimedia Commons

#30. Kittitas County

- 32.3% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 8.6% ($40,269 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 24.9% ($36,791)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 34.2% ($38,692)
- Bachelor's degree: 22.1% ($38,638)
- Graduate or professional degree: 10.2% ($66,683)

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MagicalT // Wikimedia Commons

#29. Klickitat County

- 31.5% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 12% ($21,710 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 24.8% ($32,381)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 31.7% ($36,600)
- Bachelor's degree: 21% ($43,125)
- Graduate or professional degree: 10.5% ($60,405)

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formulanone // Wikimedia Commons

#28. Benton County

- 30.9% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 9.9% ($25,413 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 24.5% ($32,722)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 34.8% ($40,812)
- Bachelor's degree: 18.9% ($63,742)
- Graduate or professional degree: 12% ($78,043)

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Ron Reiring // Wikicommons

#27. Spokane County

- 30.8% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 6.2% ($24,756 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 23.2% ($30,783)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 39.8% ($34,308)
- Bachelor's degree: 19.4% ($48,992)
- Graduate or professional degree: 11.3% ($66,654)

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Steve Morgan // Wikimedia Commons

#26. Clark County

- 30.6% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 7.3% ($31,424 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 24.2% ($36,886)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 37.8% ($41,596)
- Bachelor's degree: 20% ($60,317)
- Graduate or professional degree: 10.6% ($72,721)

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Squarestate7 // Wikicommons

#25. Walla Walla County

- 29.8% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 11.7% ($24,042 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 19.8% ($32,037)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 38.6% ($33,127)
- Bachelor's degree: 18.1% ($47,136)
- Graduate or professional degree: 11.7% ($65,610)

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Neonstar // Wikimedia Commons

#24. Clallam County

- 27.4% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 7.5% ($22,459 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 26.3% ($30,525)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 38.8% ($34,126)
- Bachelor's degree: 16.1% ($42,372)
- Graduate or professional degree: 11.3% ($63,206)

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SounderBruce // Wikimedia Commons

#23. Pierce County

- 27.2% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 8.5% ($30,182 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 27.2% ($37,480)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 37.1% ($43,219)
- Bachelor's degree: 17.9% ($56,541)
- Graduate or professional degree: 9.3% ($75,039)

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Joe Mabel // Wikicommons

#22. Skagit County

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

- Less than high school diploma: 9.8% ($29,642 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 26.3% ($36,610)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 37.6% ($38,731)
- Bachelor's degree: 16.9% ($50,878)
- Graduate or professional degree: 9.3% ($71,617)

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Jennifer Gottwald // Wikicommons

#21. Chelan County

- 25.8% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 17.4% ($27,237 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 26.4% ($28,018)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 30.5% ($37,048)
- Bachelor's degree: 15.6% ($44,510)
- Graduate or professional degree: 10.1% ($69,342)

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John Stanton // Wikimedia Commons

#20. Columbia County

- 25.6% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 8.8% ($39,355 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 21.7% ($20,741)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 43.9% ($37,350)
- Bachelor's degree: 15.4% ($39,438)
- Graduate or professional degree: 10.2% ($43,929)

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Publichall // Wikimedia Commons

#19. Lincoln County

- 25.1% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 7.3% ($22,955 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 29.3% ($32,895)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 38.4% ($37,990)
- Bachelor's degree: 16.6% ($44,531)
- Graduate or professional degree: 8.4% ($60,000)

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Calvin Beale // Wikimedia Commons

#18. Garfield County

- 24.5% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 5.6%
- High school graduate: 27.9% ($33,333)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 42.1% ($31,703)
- Bachelor's degree: 16.6% ($45,375)
- Graduate or professional degree: 7.9% ($31,875)

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U.S. Geological Survey // Wikimedia Commons

#17. Skamania County

- 24.5% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 8.3% ($26,250 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 30.4% ($35,918)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 36.8% ($40,619)
- Bachelor's degree: 14.5% ($52,847)
- Graduate or professional degree: 10% ($63,135)

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Williamborg // Wikimedia Commons

#16. Asotin County

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

- Less than high school diploma: 8.6% ($24,260 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 28% ($30,173)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 42% ($32,921)
- Bachelor's degree: 14% ($47,400)
- Graduate or professional degree: 7.3% ($63,304)

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Ruthven78 // Wikimedia Commons

#15. Pend Oreille County

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

- Less than high school diploma: 8.9% ($33,750 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 31% ($31,370)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 39.4% ($33,607)
- Bachelor's degree: 13.9% ($50,605)
- Graduate or professional degree: 6.8% ($58,654)

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Thayne Tuason // Wikimedia Commons

#14. Douglas County

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

- Less than high school diploma: 17.9% ($25,508 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 29.6% ($31,348)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 32% ($36,921)
- Bachelor's degree: 13.4% ($56,769)
- Graduate or professional degree: 7.1% ($68,456)

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Bouldernavigator // Wikimedia Commons

#13. Okanogan County

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

- Less than high school diploma: 16.1% ($22,295 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 30.3% ($29,779)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 33.6% ($33,380)
- Bachelor's degree: 13% ($39,878)
- Graduate or professional degree: 7% ($59,855)

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Walter Siegmund // Wikimedia Commons

#12. Wahkiakum County

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

- Less than high school diploma: 7.9% ($35,938 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 30% ($38,836)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 42.6% ($33,529)
- Bachelor's degree: 11.4% ($47,000)
- Graduate or professional degree: 7.9% ($68,095)

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Sam Beebe // Wikimedia Commons

#11. Pacific County

- 18.9% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 11.7% ($19,018 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 29.9% ($31,125)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 39.5% ($30,890)
- Bachelor's degree: 12.3% ($42,614)
- Graduate or professional degree: 6.6% ($55,179)

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Kevmi // Wikimedia Commons

#10. Ferry County

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

- Less than high school diploma: 13% ($17,326 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 34.9% ($30,144)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 33.3% ($27,472)
- Bachelor's degree: 12.9% ($38,097)
- Graduate or professional degree: 5.9% ($50,156)

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BrandonHansen18 // Wikimedia Commons

#9. Stevens County

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

- Less than high school diploma: 9.4% ($31,528 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 34.5% ($32,129)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 37.4% ($32,787)
- Bachelor's degree: 11.7% ($50,170)
- Graduate or professional degree: 7% ($63,616)

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Steven Pavlov // Wikimedia Commons

#8. Lewis County

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

- Less than high school diploma: 12.4% ($26,363 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 29.1% ($31,080)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 40.7% ($36,792)
- Bachelor's degree: 11% ($43,881)
- Graduate or professional degree: 6.7% ($66,448)

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Irra // Shutterstock

#7. Grant County

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

- Less than high school diploma: 23.3% ($25,529 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 27.2% ($31,209)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 31.7% ($37,621)
- Bachelor's degree: 12.3% ($47,614)
- Graduate or professional degree: 5.4% ($70,149)

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Williamborg // Wikimedia Commons

#6. Franklin County

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

- Less than high school diploma: 25.1% ($24,620 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 25.5% ($33,956)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 31.7% ($39,106)
- Bachelor's degree: 11.4% ($61,889)
- Graduate or professional degree: 6.3% ($68,119)

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Ian Poellet // Wikimedia Commons

#5. Mason County

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

- Less than high school diploma: 11.4% ($22,988 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 31.2% ($31,389)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 39.8% ($36,933)
- Bachelor's degree: 11.5% ($42,500)
- Graduate or professional degree: 6.2% ($65,517)

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Sam Beebe // Wikimedia Commons

#4. Cowlitz County

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

- Less than high school diploma: 10.7% ($26,397 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 30.6% ($31,280)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 41.7% ($39,733)
- Bachelor's degree: 10.6% ($52,467)
- Graduate or professional degree: 6.4% ($64,173)

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Michael S. Shannon // Wikimedia Commons

#3. Yakima County

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

- Less than high school diploma: 26.3% ($24,934 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 28.1% ($30,652)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 28.9% ($35,250)
- Bachelor's degree: 10.1% ($50,288)
- Graduate or professional degree: 6.5% ($66,878)

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Joe Mabel // Wikimedia Commons

#2. Grays Harbor County

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

- Less than high school diploma: 10.3% ($22,269 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 34% ($30,114)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 39.2% ($32,095)
- Bachelor's degree: 10.8% ($53,016)
- Graduate or professional degree: 5.6% ($69,840)

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Joe Mabel // Wikimedia Commons

#1. Adams County

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

- Less than high school diploma: 33% ($24,048 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 28.7% ($29,583)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 23.9% ($36,092)
- Bachelor's degree: 8.6% ($51,875)
- Graduate or professional degree: 5.7% ($58,462)

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