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Status of Education in Rural America
NCES 2007-040
June 2007

1.14. Parents' educational attainment


In 2004, a larger percentage of school-age children in rural areas had a mother or father who completed high school as their highest level of educational attainment than their peers in cities and suburbs. The percentage of school-age children with a mother or father with a bachelor's degree as their highest attainment was lower in rural areas than in suburban areas.

In 2004, some 11 percent of school-age children (ages 6–18) in rural areas had mothers who did not have a high school diploma (or its equivalent), 33 percent had mothers whose highest educational attainment was a high school diploma (or its equivalent), 35 percent had mothers whose highest attainment was some college or an associate's degree, and 21 percent had mothers who had completed a bachelor's degree or higher (table 1.14 and figure 1.14).

The percentage of school-age children whose mothers did not complete high school was smaller in rural areas (11 percent) than in cities (21 percent) or towns (16 percent). The percentage of these children whose mothers had a bachelor's degree as their highest educational attainment was smaller in rural areas (15 percent) than in suburban areas (22 percent), higher in rural areas than in towns (14 percent), and similar in rural areas and cities.

In contrast, the percentage of school-age children whose mothers' highest educational attainment was high school completion was larger in rural areas (33 percent) than in suburban areas (25 percent) and cities (26 percent). This same pattern was observed for children whose mothers' highest attainment was some college or an associate's degree.

Across locales, the percentage of school-age children whose fathers did not complete high school was lower in rural areas (13 percent) than in cities (20 percent) and towns (15 percent), while the percentage in rural areas was higher than in suburban areas (11 percent). A higher percentage of rural children had fathers who completed a high school diploma (or equivalent) as their highest level of attainment (36 percent) than children in suburban areas (24 percent), cities (24 percent), and towns (31 percent).

The percentage of school-age children whose fathers had completed some college or an associate's degree as their highest attainment was greater in rural areas (29 percent) than in cities (25 percent) and suburban areas (27 percent). In contrast, a lower percentage of rural children had fathers who completed a bachelor's degree (14 percent) than suburban children (23 percent) and children in cities (18 percent). No differences were detected between children in rural areas and towns in the percentages of children whose fathers had completed these levels of educational attainment as their highest attainment.

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