What Does College Achievement Look Like [Map Edition]
Hatty Lee, Colorlines | February 3, 2011

In the week since President Obama’s State of the Union address, there’s been lots of talk about educational disparities and which reforms will be necessary to make today’s kids competitive in a global economy. But what do those disparities look like today? The Chronicle of Higher Education created a interactive map that tries to give answers (h/t to Cliff Huang at Fast Company).

Here’s how the map works. There’s a color-coded scale showing what portion of each county has a college degree, drawn mostly from Census data. Of course, most counties are highly stratified by race. The bluer the county, the more college graduates. The national average of adults with a bachelor’s degrees is 27.5 percent.  Broken down by race, those numbers break down to 29 percent for whites, 17.2 percent for blacks, and about 12.6 percent for Latinos. What about the numbers for Asian grads? It shows them as having a 48.6 percent graduation rate. But that number’s not quite as easy to digest as you may think. The graphic falls into the familiar trap of lumping all Asian Americans together, despite huge disparities between ethnic groups. Moreover, it’s interesting to see that the rate of white college graduates doesn’t seem much affected by demographics. (Read more)