Higher education is increasingly necessary for long-term access to well-paying jobs. The extent of educational attainment, therefore, is indicative of a population’s ability to function and excel economically and an individual’s economic and social opportunities in life. While two-year associate’s degrees meet the needs of many positions, the bachelor’s degree is rapidly becoming a requirement for even some entry-level positions. Because a solid educational background, typically achieved during high school, is a prerequisite for getting a bachelor’s degree, this indicator also measures a community’s ability to prepare their children for college. This indicator measures the percent of the population over the age of 25 with a bachelor’s degree or higher.
Across the region, attainment of bachelor’s degrees remained fairly neutral, decreasing slightly from 31.7% to 31.4% between 2014 and 2015. However, trends varied considerably throughout the region. Hampden County and Franklin County experienced decreases of 5.8% and 4.2% respectively, while Hampshire County experienced an increase of 10.4%.