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

Outcomes


  • A larger percentage of rural public school students in the 4th- and 8th-grades in 2005 scored at or above the Proficient level on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) reading, mathematics, and science assessments than did public school students in cities at these grade levels. However, smaller percentages of rural public school students than suburban public school students scored at or above the Proficient level in reading and mathematics. (Indicators 2.1–2.3)
  • In 2004, the high school status dropout rate among 16- to 24-year-olds in rural areas (11 percent) was higher than in suburban areas (9 percent), but lower than in cities (13 percent). (Indicator 2.4)
  • The averaged freshman graduation rate for public high school students was higher during the 2002–03 school year in rural areas (75 percent) than in cities (65 percent), but lower than in towns and suburban areas (76 and 79 percent, respectively). (Indicator 2.5)
  • A larger percentage of teenagers in rural areas than in suburban areas were neither enrolled in school nor employed in 2004 (6 vs. 4 percent). (Indicator 2.6)
  • College enrollment rates for both 18- to 24-year olds and 25- to 29-year olds were generally lower in rural areas than in all other locales in 2004. (Indicator 2.7)
  • A smaller percentage of rural adults than suburban adults in 2005 took work-related courses (24 vs. 30 percent) or courses for personal interest (18 vs. 23 percent), and a smaller percentage of rural adults than adults in cities and suburban areas participated in part-time college or university credential programs (3 vs. 6 percent each). (Indicator 2.8)
  • The percentage of adults with a bachelor's degree as their highest level of educational attainment in 2004 was lower in rural areas (13 percent) than the national percentage (17 percent). (Indicator 2.9)
  • Regardless of educational attainment, persons in rural areas generally had higher median earnings in 2004 than those in cities and towns (when adjusted to reflect regional cost differences), but lower median earnings than those in suburban areas. (Indicator 2.10)
  • The unemployment rate for adults ages 25 to 34 was lower in rural areas (6.7 percent) than in cities (8.0 percent) and towns (8.3 percent), and the unemployment rate for adults ages 35 to 64 was lower in rural areas (4.5 percent) than in all other locales (4.8–6.4 percent). (Indicator 2.11)

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