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Is the American Dream Failing Us?

Americans are more educated than they’ve ever been, according to new
census data.

The U.S. Census Bureau
on Thursday released
American Community Survey,


provides county-by-county tallies for demographics, education, employment and other statistics every five years. The most recent data runs from 2010 to 2014.

Here are the most important takeaways:

Americans are more educated.

While some have said the increase in graduation rates
won’t be sustainable for much longer,
for now are still graduating from college at higher rates than ever before. In the 3,142 U.S. counties, the percentage of people 25 or older who had a bachelor
degree increased in 1,000 counties between 2005-2009 and 2010-2014. It only decreased in 60 counties.

The share of Americans graduating high school or higher and the share of Americans with a bachelor’s degree or higher both increased.

More Americans are below the poverty line.

In the 2005-2009 survey, 13.5 percent of Americans were below the poverty line. In 2014, 15.6 percent were.

The share of Americans in poverty grew in more than 1,000 counties and decreased in 136. Of the 119 counties where 30 percent or more of residents had income below the poverty threshold, 93 were in the South.

Women are still more likely to be
impoverished, despite their
level of education. The majority of households with income below the poverty line in the last 12 months were headed by

with no husband present, with 4.6 million households in this situation.

Median income isn’t changing much, and where it is changing, it’s for the worse.

The change in median income wasn’t statistically significant in most counties. In 30 percent of counties, the median income decreased, while it only increased in 6 percent of counties.

Wages increased most for Americans with a graduate degree or higher, followed by those with bachelor’s

Explore the data more on the
Census website.

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