The true north goal of the Commit Partnership is doubling living-wage attainment in Dallas County in the course of a generation. One of the strategic outcomes we pursue in support of that goal is increased postsecondary completion, be it an industry-based certificate, Associate’s, or Bachelor’s degree.
Education beyond a high school diploma, while increasingly necessary, is not always sufficient for acquiring a fulfilling career with a family-sustaining salary. Unconscionable gaps in wages persist when the data is disaggregated by race.
But on the whole, when compared regionally, educational attainment has a direct positive correlation to median income, even when adjusted for differences in cost-of-living.
Recent analysis performed by Commit looked at the relative comparison of large Texas counties and other metro areas. As of 2019 young adults in Collin County are 1.5 times more likely to hold a postsecondary credential and earn a 33% greater median income. This scatter plot generates a clear and consistent trend line: as education attainment increases, so does income.
The higher poverty rates that we see in Dallas County are impacted significantly by our region’s historically low postsecondary completion rates. This reality is why Commit and many of our school district and higher ed partners have worked to change this with efforts like the Dallas County Promise.
There will need to be multiple system level changes enacted to reduce our poverty rates in Dallas County, but increasing the opportunity for students coming from households experiencing poverty to access and succeed in their pursuit of education and training beyond a high school diploma is critical, as this latest data analysis demonstrates.