Cass County sees rise in percentage of college graduates


August 9th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Information released by the Center for Rural Strategies says Cass County has experienced a “brain gain” in the last 40 years, joining the rest of the country in what has been a massive increase in the number of adults who have earned college degrees. In 1970, 8.4 percent of those over 25 years of age had college degrees in Cass County. By 2010, 14.5 percent of adults here had completed college. The percentage of adults with college degrees in Cass County was less than the national average of 27.9 percent in 2010. The college-educated rate was less than the Iowa average of 24.5 percent.

The number of adults in the United States with college degrees has nearly tripled since 1970, when only 10.7 percent of adults had graduated from college. But the percentage of adults with degrees in rural counties, such as Cass County, while increasing, has generally fallen behind the proportion of college-educated residents in urban counties.

In 1970, 7.8 percent of adults in rural counties had some education after high school, but less than a college degree. By 2010, 27.4 percent of rural adults had attained some post high school education without earning a college diploma. That level of education was close to the national average of 28.1 percent. In Cass County, 10.6 percent of adults had some college in 1970, rising to 31.8 percent in 2010. The Iowa average in 2010 was 31.0 percent. Cass County had 10,357 adults (those over 25 years of age) in 1970 and 9,805 adults in 2010.

Only 8.9 percent of the adult population in Cass County had failed to graduate from high school in 2010. Nationally 15 percent of adults had not completed high school; in Iowa, the rate was 10.1 percent. The report was compiled by Bill Bishop, editor of the news site, and Robert Gallardo, an associate professor at Mississippi State’s Southern Rural Development Center.

The source data, charts, and a map may be downloaded at