Adding a Legend Caption to Reflect the Statewide Average

In my past posts exploring using Datawrapper maps I looked at the percentage of public high school graduates that enrolled in college and the percentage of those students that enrolled in college that earned a college degree by age 25. In this post I examine the percentage of high school graduates that earn a college degree by age 25.

Again I am using publically posted data from the Maryland Longitudinal Data Center. In their data set they did not post the percentage of public high school students that earned a college degree by age 25, I calculated it by dividing the number of high school graduates in a county by the number of students that earned a college degree from that county by age 25. From my understanding of the data this should work, but I haven’t done a deep analysis into the potential flaws of that process.

For this Datawrapper map, I added a legend caption to reflect the Statewide average. The caption appears directly above the legend. For now I this placement makes sense for a Statewide average. Otherwise, I used the same settings I have used with the other maps I have made thus far.

Public Policy Thoughts About the Data

According to this data, 40% of Maryland public high school students who graduated in 2011-2012 earned a college degree by age 25. There is not directly comparable data nationwide because Maryland Longitudinal Data Center only collects and publishes data about Maryland. The American Community Survey Data collects data about the educational attainment of individuals based on where they live, not where they graduated high school or where they were educated. According to that data 44% of Marylanders 25-44 years old, have earned a bachelor's degree or higher. Maryland is known as a State with a highly educated workforce. Is that because a large number of the State's high school graduates graduate college by age 25 or is it because educated workers move to the State? I do not know the answer, but I interested in exploring the data more.

What strikes me about the map is the difference in the percentage of high school graduates who earn a college degree by age 25 in Baltimore City, 16%, and Howard County, 60%. That is a huge difference, 44 percentage points. As someone who is familiar with Maryland I am not surprised by the difference, but the difference is striking. I want to dig deeper into the data. I want to see if low-income high school graduates from Howard County earn college degrees at a similar rate to high-income graduates in the county, or is the rate more similar to that of jurisdiction that have higher levels of poverty such as Baltimore City. I also want to look at the opposite for Baltimore City.

When looking back on the map showing percent college enrollees with a college degree by age 25, there is no jurisdiction that stands out as being radically different in this map, but I will need to dig deeper into the data.

If I can understand the potential reasons behind the data better I hope I will be able to give better policy advice.

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