Jeff Fuentes Gleghorn
According to new data from the Economic Research Service, young people in Pennsylvania are more likely to graduate from high school, get their GED, and graduate from college than ever before. In 2000, around 18 percent of people over the age of 25 had not completed high school or their GED. 20 years later, that number has fallen to only 9.5 percent, meaning that in two decades Pennsylvania managed to halve the number of people without a high school diploma or GED. This year is also the first time that Pennsylvania has had over 90 percent of its residents graduate from high school. The Commonwealth is doing slightly better than the United States, which has an overall 88 percent graduation rate, up from 80 percent in 2000.
Lackawanna County is doing better than average in high school graduation, with nearly 91 percent of residents having completed high school or their GED, but is behind in college education, with only 28 percent of residents having a college degree. Luzerne County lags slightly behind in high school graduation with 89 percent of residents completing high school or its equivalent. The gap grows larger in college education, with 23 percent of residents having a college degree compared to the 31 percent across Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania is slightly behind on college graduation, with 31.4 percent of residents holding a college degree. The average in the U.S. is 32.1 percent, but even so, the state has made enormous progress in the last 20 years.