Odds are if you lived in Minneapolis in 2015 and didn’t have a high school diploma, then you probably made less than $19,200.00 in that year. If you’re keeping track, that’s $10.00 per hour. Matter of fact, if you were the average person with no high school diploma, then the odds were good you made $18,165.00. In contrast, if you were the average person with a graduate or professional degree, then the odds were good you made $62,757.00 in 2015.
It is clear from the data, at least this data, that education pays for those who work and reside in Minneapolis. That is, earnings increase at each level of the educational ladder. Those residents with a high school diploma earn more than those residents with less than a high school education on average; those residents with some college or an associate degree earn more than those residents with a high school diploma on average; those residents with a bachelor’s degree earn more than those residents with some college or an associate degree on average; and those residents with a graduate or professional degree earn more than those residents with a bachelor’s degree on average.
In fact, it is striking how each level earns significantly more than the next educational level down. For example, there is a $7,092.00 difference annually between a high school diploma and no high school diploma; and there is a $21,812.00 difference annually between a college degree and a high school diploma. Of course, is this the case no matter what city data is observed? Does this educational advantage remain if one were to compare the north side of Minneapolis to the south side of Minneapolis? Does this educational advantage remain if one were to compare different parts of North Minneapolis itself?
But what if it were the case that education remained financially advantageous no matter the geographical local, i.e., any part of the United States (take your pick)?
What would this mean for economic policy? Do examples exist of local policy makers constructing such economic policy based off of educational data? Indeed, one data set is not enough. Are there counter examples? In order to satisfy the rigors of science, data sets showing such an advantage need to be illustrated to exhaustion or boredom, whichever comes first.
Matt has a Bachelor of Science in Systems Science, with focuses in applied mathematics and economic systems, from Iowa State University. He is also a professional member of the Society of Industrial and Applied Mathematics and the International Society for the Systems Sciences and a scholarly member of Omicron Delta Epsilon, which is an International Honors Society for Economics.
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Photo Credit: U.S. Department of Education
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