Louisiana News

Least Educated Metro Area in Louisiana

College enrollment has declined steadily in the United States in recent years. With rising tuition costs and surging student debt, enrollment has fallen by an average of nearly 2% a year since 2010. While four years of higher education may not be for everyone, Americans without a bachelor’s degree tend to be far more limited in their career opportunities, job security, and earning potential.

Nationwide, an estimated 33.1% of American adults 25 and older have a bachelor’s degree or higher. Educational attainment rates vary considerably across the country, however, and in nearly every state, there is at least one metro area where the share of adults with a bachelor’s degree is well below the national average.

In the Houma-Thibodaux metro area, located in Louisiana, only 16.3% of the adult population have a bachelor’s degree, the smallest share of any metro area in the state. Meanwhile, across Louisiana, 25.0% of adults have a bachelor’s degree or higher.

The average weekly wage for a college-educated worker in the United States is about 67% higher than it is for those with no more than a high school diploma — and in places with lower educational attainment, incomes also tend to be lower than average. In the Houma-Thibodaux metro area, the typical household earns $49,874 per year, less than the median household income across Louisiana of $51,073.

All data in this story are one-year estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey.

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