Central Texas Lags Behind U.S. In Education, Census Data Show

WACO (September 21, 2009)—A Baylor University analysis of new U.S. Census Bureau data shows that much of Central Texas lags behind the rest of the U.S. in education attainment.

The data show that nearly a quarter of the adults in Waco don’t have high school diplomas, compared to 15 percent nationally and 20 percent statewide.

Dr. Larry Lyon, director of Baylor’s Center for Community Research and Development, calls the findings “another call to action.”

The data also show that Central Texas is below the national average in the percentage of residents who are college graduates or who hold graduate or professional degrees, said Dr. Carson Mencken, a Baylor sociology professor and researcher.
Community specialist Dr. Robyn Driskell called the data troubling because Waco is a reasonably large city with well-developed urban areas and is home to a top technical college, a four-year university, and a community college that offers four-year degrees from several major Texas universities.
“Continued progress and development hinge increasingly on a quality, educated work force,” she said.
“We need to redouble our efforts to upgrade education attainment locally.”
In Waco, 11.5 percent of the residents 25 and older have Bachelor’s degrees, compared to 14.10 percent in McLennan County, 12.5 percent in Killeen and `15.10 percent in Bell County.

Just 7.6 percent of the residents of Waco 25 and older have graduate or professional degrees, compared to 6.9 percent in McLennan County, 4.9 percent in Killeen and 7.10 percent in Bell County, the data show.

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