Percentage of adults ages 25-44 with some post-secondary education. The 2023 County Health Rankings used data from 2017-2021 for this measure.
The relationship between higher education and improved health outcomes is well known, with years of formal education correlating strongly with improved work and economic opportunities, reduced psychosocial stress, and healthier lifestyles.1,2
Data and methods
American Community Survey, 5-year estimates
The American Community Survey (ACS) is a nationwide survey designed to provide communities with a fresh look at how they are changing. It is a critical element in the Census Bureau's reengineered decennial census program. The ACS collects and produces population and housing information every year instead of every ten years, and publishes both one-year and five-year estimates. The County Health Rankings use American Community Survey data to obtain measures of social and economic factors.
Key Measure Methods
Some College is a percentage
Some College is the percentage of the population ages 25-44 with some post-secondary education, such as enrollment in vocational/technical schools, junior colleges, or 4-year colleges. It includes individuals who pursued education following high school but did not receive a degree as well as those who attained degrees.
A limitation of this measure is that it groups people with varying educational backgrounds. In so doing, it may underestimate or overestimate the health benefits that post-secondary education confers on a given county depending on the amount of post-secondary education residents have attained.
The numerator is the total number of individuals ages 25-44 with at least some post-secondary education.
The denominator is the total number of individuals ages 25-44.
Can This Measure Be Used to Track Progress
This measure can be used to track progress with some caveats. It is important to note that the estimate provided in the County Health Rankings is a 5-year average. However, for counties with a population greater than 20,000, single-year estimates can be obtained from the resource listed below.
Finding More Data
Disaggregation means breaking data down into smaller, meaningful subgroups. Disaggregated data are often broken down by characteristics of people or where they live. Disaggregated data can reveal inequalities that are otherwise hidden. These data can be disaggregated by:
- Subcounty Area
You can find this data stratified by age and gender in table B15001, and you can calculate the educational attainment of the population age 25 and over by race using tables C15002A-G. These tables can be accessed at https://data.census.gov/. For many communities, you can access these same tables at the census tract or census block level.
1 Egerter S, Braveman P, Sadegh-Nobari T, Grossman-Kahn R, Dekker M. Education Matters for Health. Princeton, NJ: RWJF Commission to Build a Healthier America; 2009. Issue Brief 6.
2 Ross CE, Mirowsky J. Refining the association between education and health: The effects of quantity, credential and selectivity. Demography. 1999; 36:445-460.