The level of education pays a huge part in determining a person's success in the labor market. The Bureau of Labor Statistics found that, in 2011, those with a professional degree other than a doctorate or master's had the lowest unemployment rate, at 2.4 percent, and the highest median pay, at $1,665 per week. Professions that usually require a professional degree are lawyers, doctors, dentists and veterinarians. In contrast, those with less than a high school education had an unemployment rate of 14.1 percent and median pay of $451 per week. Those with a bachelor's degree had an unemployment rate of 4.9 percent, and the average median pay was $1,053 per week.
The average unemployment rate across all education levels was 7.6 percent, and the average median pay was $797 per week.
The U.S. Census Bureau includes high school diploma equivalencies, such as GED certificates, when calculating the percentage of the population with a high school diploma. It also measures by the highest level of education people have attained. For example, Boone County has a low percentage of the population with a high school diploma because so many people have gone on to earn higher degrees.
This graphic is part of the American Next, a special project exploring the hopes, fears and changing expectations of Missouri's next generation in challenging times.