Counties ranks on least educated list

Published 8:45 am Thursday, March 3, 2022

Buckingham and Cumberland have made a top 50 list but one they might not want to be known for.

In a recent report compiled by Stacker listing the least educated counties in Virginia, Buckingham came in number eight; with Cumberland ranking a little better at number 24.

Greensville County ranks number one.

According to Stacker, the list was compiled using the U.S. Census Bureau data. Counties are ranked by the lowest percentage of the population 25 years and over that has a bachelor’s degree or higher.

According to the U.S Census Bureau, only 7.4% of Buckingham residents have a bachelor’s degree. Only 5.1% have a graduate or professional degree while 42.8% are high school graduates and 20.2% have less than a high school diploma.

In Cumberland, 7.3% of residents have a bachelor’s degree. While 7.6% have a graduate or professional degree, 38.1% are high school graduates and 16.5% have less than a high school diploma.

Having a college degree has long been viewed as a way to increase an individual’s income, as college graduates typically earn 65% more than those with only a high school degree.

However, not everyone chooses the college path. Most recent studies find that high school graduates opt for trade schools or simply enter the workforce upon graduation but with less pay than their degree-earning counterparts.

The U.S. Census Bureau shows that those in Buckingham County with a bachelor’s degree have $47,500 median earnings while a high school graduate is earning $26,983 median income.

Residents in Cumberland are earning less with a bachelor’s degree than those in Buckingham.

According to The U.S. Census Bureau those in Cumberland County with a bachelor’s degree have $43,320 median earnings while a high school graduate in Cumberland is actually earning more than those in Buckingham at a $28,893 median income.

Trudy Berry who ran for election to the Virginia House of Delegates to represent District 61 which covers Cumberland County against Tommy Wright in November 2021, said she feels there are several reasons as to why the counties made the least educated list.

“Our rural schools need more teachers, higher teacher pay, modern schools equipped with today’s technology and solar energy, and affordable high-speed broadband in every home,” Berry said.

Berry said other factors include high teacher turnover due to teacher pay that is below the national average, too many students per classroom that precludes meeting individual students’ needs, outdated school buildings, and many students who don’t have a broadband connection at home.