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College degree can keep you out of poverty in Stark



Percentage of children living in poverty in Stark County in 2009


Yellow Pages

By Melissa Griffy Seeton
Posted Dec 27, 2010 @ 01:01 AM
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It pays to have a college degree.

If you are living in Stark County, anyway.

The U.S. Census Bureau’s recent release of five-year estimates from the American Community Survey (ACS) shows that Stark County’s educated adults are less likely to be poor than educated adults in Ohio and the United States.

The new five-year estimates, covering 2005 to 2009, represent the first time the ACS has calculated social, economic, housing and demographic statistics for every community in the nation.

Joseph Rochford, vice president of the Stark Education Partnership, said the news is not so much a surprise, but it reaffirms the notion that education is the solution to poverty.

“A lot of data indicates the higher your education level, the less poverty you will experience,” he said.

“Two-thirds, or more, of the jobs being created require a college education, and those with a college degree are eventually higher-paid. And, in Stark County, educational attainment begins to pull up everyone’s income level.”

College graduates are faring well in some of Stark’s neighboring counties, too. The ACS data show adults with a high school diploma or college degree in Tuscarawas County are less likely to be poor.

But, in Carroll County, residents with a bachelor’s degree or higher are experiencing a slightly higher poverty rate — 3.8 percent — than either the state or nation.

Adults at every education level are likely to be poorer in Summit County than both the state and the nation, with the exception of residents who hold a bachelor’s degree or higher.

Counties housing some of the state’s largest cities, including Cuyahoga (Cleveland) and Franklin (Columbus), are experiencing a much higher poverty rate by education level, but residents with college degrees are faring better. For both areas, the poverty rate for adults with no high school diploma is 29 percent. That percentage drops drastically — hovering around 4 percent — for adults in both areas if they have a bachelor’s degree or higher.

“It is becoming vital for any city or county to focus on education,” Rochford said. “The more highly skilled, educated work force we have, the more we are going to prosper. We still have our hard-core poverty, but education is beginning to loosen it.”

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