Some college

Percentage of adults ages 25-44 with some post-secondary education.

The 2020 County Health Rankings used data from 2014-2018 for this measure.

Reason for Ranking

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]

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 four-year colleges. It includes individuals who pursued education following high school but did not receive a degree as well as those who attained degrees.

Measure Limitations

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.

Numerator

Total number of individuals ages 25-44 with at least some post-secondary education.

Denominator

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.

Data Source

Years of Data Used

2014-2018

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.

Digging Deeper
Age 1
Gender 1
Race 1
Education Not applicable
Income 0
Subcounty Area 1

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.

References

[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.

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When it comes to developing and implementing solutions to problems that affect communities, evidence matters. The strategies below give some ideas of ways communities can harness evidence to make a difference locally. You can learn more about these and other strategies in What Works for Health, which summarizes and rates evidence for policies, programs, and systems changes.

Establish small learning communities in high schools focused on fields such as health care, finance, technology, communications, or public service
Provide preschool education and comprehensive support to low income families, including small classes, student meals, and home visits with referrals for social service support as needed
Help underrepresented students prepare academically for college, complete applications, and enroll, especially first generation applicants and students from low income families
Provide supports such as mentoring, counseling, or vocational training, or undertake school environment changes to help students complete high school
Provide child care, parent education, physical health and mental health services, and other family supports to pregnant women and parents with low incomes and children aged 0 to 3
Convene small groups of families for facilitated weekly meetings that include a family meal, structured activities, parent support time, and parent-child play therapy

The County Health Rankings provide a snapshot of a community’s health and a starting point for investigating and discussing ways to improve health. Select a state and a measure below to see what’s happening locally.