What does this measure?
The number of residents with a particular level of education, expressed as a percentage of all residents 25 and older.
Why is this important?
An educated population makes a more attractive workforce and is better prepared to instruct the next generation of residents. High educational attainment represents a region's investment in human capital and preparation for long-term growth.
How is our county doing?
In 2017-21, 41% of adults in Essex County had at least a bachelor's degree, up from 31% in 2000. That was higher than the national rate of 34% and slightly below Massachusetts' rate of 45%. Only 10% of Essex County adults lacked a high school diploma, while 24% were high school graduates and 24% had attended some college. These proportions were very similar to the state. Essex had a higher percentage of people with a bachelor's degree or higher compared to the nation (34%).
Within the County, the cities of Lawrence and Lynn had much lower levels of education, with 14% and 21%, respectively, of adults having earned at least a bachelor's. Nearly a third in Lawrence lacked a high school diploma, compared to 23% in Lynn. Communities with the highest shares of residents with at least a bachelor's degree included Manchester (78%) and Marblehead (77%).
How do we compare to similar counties?
Essex County's 2017-21 rate of adults with bachelor's or higher degrees was lower than the comparison counties: 58% in Middlesex, MA, 51% in Westchester, NY, and 46% in Lake, IL.
Notes about the data
Adults are people 25 and older. The multi-year figures are from the Census Bureau's American Community Survey. The bureau combined five years of responses to the survey to provide estimates for smaller geographic areas and increase the precision of its estimates. However, because the information came from a survey, the samples responding to the survey were not always large enough to produce reliable results, especially in small geographic areas. CGR has noted on data tables the estimates with relatively large margins of error. Estimates with three asterisks have the largest margins, plus or minus 50% or more of the estimate. Two asterisks mean plus or minus 35%-50%, and one asterisk means plus or minus 20%-35%. For all estimates, the confidence level is 90%, meaning there is 90% probability the true value (if the whole population were surveyed) would be within the margin of error (or confidence interval).
The survey provides data on characteristics of the population that used to be collected only during the decennial census. Data for this indicator are released annually in December.