After reviewing the 4-year high school graduation rates for the class of 2013, the question came to mind: what is the percentage of students that graduated in 2013 compared with the population living within the school district’s geographic boundaries?
In other words: are the public schools where you live producing a level of high school graduates matching that of the population living within the district?
It’s a stretch, almost apples and oranges, but it’s worth considering.
Using data from the American Community Survey (ACS), the map below shows two figures juxtaposed:
- The 4-year 2013 cohort graduation rate by school district.
- The percent of the population age 25 and older living within the district’s geographic boundaries who have obtained a high school diploma or its equivalent.
The difference between the two is displayed in a heat map, by color. Click this link to open the map in a larger window. Check the legend to figure out what it tells you. Click on the school district for the actual numbers.
Recognizing the limitations of ACS (the margin of error due to it being an estimate) it still provides information worth considering.
City and county planners and government leaders might glean some information to help them determine whether the folks living within their districts are becoming more educated or whether the reverse is happening.
While a lower percentage of new graduates versus existing population doesn’t necessarily mean the area is in decline, it might throw up a red flag or two to ask what’s happening with your public schools and call for a closer look. The educational attainment of an area certainly has an impact on the rest of a city or county.
Note that Chickasaw City and Satsuma City school districts are not included in the map for two reasons: the shapefiles (needed to create a heatmap) don’t exist nor does either district exist in the ACS. Yet. Check this post for information about their graduation rates.
Here’s the link to the ACS table used in the analysis. The name of the table is the “Selected Social Characteristics in the United States, 2008-2012 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates”.
PSSST: For those of us data-loving writer-types, al.com has been digging into numbers lately….check out their searchable database page. They cover topics other than education, obviously, but it never hurts to learn all you can about your community.