The value of traditional education can vary widely across the country. While a college degree has long been viewed as a critical step toward the American dream, growing costs have led many students to reconsider the return-on-investment of higher education. Meanwhile, local economies and individual circumstances can push others toward learning a trade or entering the workforce early.

These considerations aside, national statistics show a clear difference in earnings as they relate to educational attainment, as college graduates typically earn 65% more than those with only a high school degree.

To help understand areas with the lowest educational attainment, Stacker compiled a list of the least educated counties in Missouri using data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Counties are ranked by the lowest percent of the population 25 years and over that has a Bachelor’s degree or higher. Ties are broken by the highest percent with less than high school diploma.

Keep read on for a look at the least-educated counties in Missouri.

#50. Bates County

– 16.1% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor’s degree or higher

– Less than high school diploma: 12.6% ($18,438 median earnings)
– High school graduate: 44.2% ($33,338)
– Some college or Associate’s degree: 27.1% ($31,141)
– Bachelor’s degree: 10.7% ($43,278)
– Graduate or professional degree: 5.5% ($42,209)

#49. Lawrence County

– 16% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor’s degree or higher

– Less than high school diploma: 15.3% ($25,221 median earnings)
– High school graduate: 38.7% ($26,581)
– Some college or Associate’s degree: 29.9% ($30,825)
– Bachelor’s degree: 10.9% ($39,748)
– Graduate or professional degree: 5.1% ($57,730)

#48. Henry County

– 15.9% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor’s degree or higher

– Less than high school diploma: 12.2% ($21,318 median earnings)
– High school graduate: 40.7% ($28,299)
– Some college or Associate’s degree: 31.3% ($33,182)
– Bachelor’s degree: 10.6% ($39,672)
– Graduate or professional degree: 5.3% ($46,186)

#47. Maries County

– 15.8% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor’s degree or higher

– Less than high school diploma: 13.5% ($29,891 median earnings)
– High school graduate: 40% ($30,670)
– Some college or Associate’s degree: 30.6% ($34,333)
– Bachelor’s degree: 11.3% ($42,031)
– Graduate or professional degree: 4.5% ($46,023)

#46. Madison County

– 15.6% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor’s degree or higher

– Less than high school diploma: 15.6% ($25,536 median earnings)
– High school graduate: 36.5% ($30,412)
– Some college or Associate’s degree: 32.4% ($29,346)
– Bachelor’s degree: 10% ($39,205)
– Graduate or professional degree: 5.6% ($38,462)

#45. Pike County

– 15.6% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor’s degree or higher

– Less than high school diploma: 15.8% ($21,214 median earnings)
– High school graduate: 47.6% ($27,612)
– Some college or Associate’s degree: 21% ($32,050)
– Bachelor’s degree: 11% ($38,305)
– Graduate or professional degree: 4.6% ($44,524)

#44. Carter County

– 15.5% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor’s degree or higher

– Less than high school diploma: 15.2% ($22,177 median earnings)
– High school graduate: 43.2% ($26,952)
– Some college or Associate’s degree: 26.2% ($27,695)
– Bachelor’s degree: 9.5% ($56,000)
– Graduate or professional degree: 6% ($50,739)

#43. Dent County

– 15.3% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor’s degree or higher

– Less than high school diploma: 16.8% ($21,193 median earnings)
– High school graduate: 41.4% ($29,633)
– Some college or Associate’s degree: 26.5% ($32,461)
– Bachelor’s degree: 10% ($32,314)
– Graduate or professional degree: 5.3% ($41,875)

#42. Randolph County

– 15.1% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor’s degree or higher

– Less than high school diploma: 13.1% ($26,314 median earnings)
– High school graduate: 36.3% ($29,861)
– Some college or Associate’s degree: 35.5% ($32,356)
– Bachelor’s degree: 9.9% ($38,820)
– Graduate or professional degree: 5.2% ($45,878)

#41. Ralls County

– 14.9% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor’s degree or higher

– Less than high school diploma: 10.3% ($19,327 median earnings)
– High school graduate: 49% ($32,009)
– Some college or Associate’s degree: 25.8% ($34,449)
– Bachelor’s degree: 9.8% ($39,118)
– Graduate or professional degree: 5.1% ($56,944)

#40. Shannon County

– 14.9% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor’s degree or higher

– Less than high school diploma: 20% ($22,163 median earnings)
– High school graduate: 44.9% ($16,896)
– Some college or Associate’s degree: 20.2% ($27,420)
– Bachelor’s degree: 9.6% ($31,284)
– Graduate or professional degree: 5.2% ($41,250)

#39. Audrain County

– 14.7% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor’s degree or higher

– Less than high school diploma: 13.8% ($19,545 median earnings)
– High school graduate: 45.8% ($25,892)
– Some college or Associate’s degree: 25.7% ($31,235)
– Bachelor’s degree: 9.7% ($38,514)
– Graduate or professional degree: 5% ($47,019)

#38. Ray County

– 14.6% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor’s degree or higher

– Less than high school diploma: 11.9% ($32,188 median earnings)
– High school graduate: 45.1% ($35,871)
– Some college or Associate’s degree: 28.5% ($36,311)
– Bachelor’s degree: 10.4% ($47,339)
– Graduate or professional degree: 4.2% ($54,575)

#37. Laclede County

– 14.6% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor’s degree or higher

– Less than high school diploma: 14.9% ($21,143 median earnings)
– High school graduate: 40.8% ($30,487)
– Some college or Associate’s degree: 29.7% ($34,678)
– Bachelor’s degree: 10.3% ($43,944)
– Graduate or professional degree: 4.3% ($50,353)

#36. Barry County

– 14.6% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor’s degree or higher

– Less than high school diploma: 16.4% ($24,758 median earnings)
– High school graduate: 41.3% ($30,295)
– Some college or Associate’s degree: 27.7% ($31,436)
– Bachelor’s degree: 9.9% ($45,901)
– Graduate or professional degree: 4.7% ($47,163)

#35. Oregon County

– 14.6% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor’s degree or higher

– Less than high school diploma: 16.9% ($13,583 median earnings)
– High school graduate: 43% ($23,462)
– Some college or Associate’s degree: 25.5% ($26,915)
– Bachelor’s degree: 9.9% ($35,729)
– Graduate or professional degree: 4.7% ($45,750)

#34. St. Francois County

– 14.3% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor’s degree or higher

– Less than high school diploma: 15.3% ($19,757 median earnings)
– High school graduate: 37.2% ($26,629)
– Some college or Associate’s degree: 33.3% ($31,071)
– Bachelor’s degree: 8.2% ($43,070)
– Graduate or professional degree: 6% ($56,199)

#33. Scotland County

– 14.2% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor’s degree or higher

– Less than high school diploma: 20.1% ($31,538 median earnings)
– High school graduate: 41.5% ($33,000)
– Some college or Associate’s degree: 24.2% ($31,678)
– Bachelor’s degree: 10% ($44,250)
– Graduate or professional degree: 4.3% ($46,833)

#32. Montgomery County

– 14% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor’s degree or higher

– Less than high school diploma: 14.7% ($29,130 median earnings)
– High school graduate: 44.7% ($36,625)
– Some college or Associate’s degree: 26.5% ($32,190)
– Bachelor’s degree: 8.8% ($44,706)
– Graduate or professional degree: 5.1% ($42,125)

#31. St. Clair County

– 13.9% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor’s degree or higher

– Less than high school diploma: 15.5% ($17,813 median earnings)
– High school graduate: 41.1% ($24,533)
– Some college or Associate’s degree: 29.5% ($30,028)
– Bachelor’s degree: 8.7% ($32,399)
– Graduate or professional degree: 5.2% ($37,566)

#30. DeKalb County

– 13.8% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor’s degree or higher

– Less than high school diploma: 12.7% ($30,945 median earnings)
– High school graduate: 47.1% ($34,688)
– Some college or Associate’s degree: 26.4% ($30,666)
– Bachelor’s degree: 10.2% ($42,975)
– Graduate or professional degree: 3.6% ($50,987)

#29. Dunklin County

– 13.8% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor’s degree or higher

– Less than high school diploma: 23.8% ($19,630 median earnings)
– High school graduate: 38.2% ($25,949)
– Some college or Associate’s degree: 24.3% ($30,766)
– Bachelor’s degree: 8.9% ($39,650)
– Graduate or professional degree: 4.9% ($45,068)

#28. Reynolds County

– 13.7% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor’s degree or higher

– Less than high school diploma: 20.1% ($20,604 median earnings)
– High school graduate: 40.4% ($28,043)
– Some college or Associate’s degree: 25.7% ($30,424)
– Bachelor’s degree: 10% ($34,516)
– Graduate or professional degree: 3.7% ($44,091)

#27. Lewis County

– 13.6% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor’s degree or higher

– Less than high school diploma: 11.5% ($15,375 median earnings)
– High school graduate: 45.9% ($34,653)
– Some college or Associate’s degree: 29% ($35,493)
– Bachelor’s degree: 8.4% ($45,571)
– Graduate or professional degree: 5.2% ($49,464)

#26. Cedar County

– 13.6% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor’s degree or higher

– Less than high school diploma: 12.3% ($18,359 median earnings)
– High school graduate: 41.2% ($27,367)
– Some college or Associate’s degree: 32.9% ($25,656)
– Bachelor’s degree: 8.6% ($31,812)
– Graduate or professional degree: 5.1% ($37,610)

#25. Texas County

– 13.5% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor’s degree or higher

– Less than high school diploma: 16.3% ($17,148 median earnings)
– High school graduate: 38.6% ($27,292)
– Some college or Associate’s degree: 31.5% ($28,633)
– Bachelor’s degree: 9.7% ($31,046)
– Graduate or professional degree: 3.8% ($48,571)

#24. Butler County

– 13.3% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor’s degree or higher

– Less than high school diploma: 17% ($20,772 median earnings)
– High school graduate: 37.3% ($23,177)
– Some college or Associate’s degree: 32.4% ($26,612)
– Bachelor’s degree: 8.4% ($44,990)
– Graduate or professional degree: 4.9% ($62,829)

#23. Stoddard County

– 13.3% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor’s degree or higher

– Less than high school diploma: 19.1% ($26,250 median earnings)
– High school graduate: 41.5% ($30,508)
– Some college or Associate’s degree: 26.1% ($27,875)
– Bachelor’s degree: 9.2% ($43,234)
– Graduate or professional degree: 4.1% ($47,651)

#22. Morgan County

– 13.3% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor’s degree or higher

– Less than high school diploma: 21.9% ($26,397 median earnings)
– High school graduate: 38.1% ($26,306)
– Some college or Associate’s degree: 26.7% ($27,197)
– Bachelor’s degree: 8.7% ($40,074)
– Graduate or professional degree: 4.6% ($34,375)

#21. Benton County

– 13% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor’s degree or higher

– Less than high school diploma: 15.5% ($22,541 median earnings)
– High school graduate: 40.3% ($25,259)
– Some college or Associate’s degree: 31.2% ($27,431)
– Bachelor’s degree: 6.8% ($29,868)
– Graduate or professional degree: 6.2% ($46,667)

#20. Dallas County

– 12.9% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor’s degree or higher

– Less than high school diploma: 16.6% ($27,388 median earnings)
– High school graduate: 44.5% ($27,033)
– Some college or Associate’s degree: 26% ($33,873)
– Bachelor’s degree: 7% ($41,284)
– Graduate or professional degree: 5.9% ($38,926)

#19. Clark County

– 12.8% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor’s degree or higher

– Less than high school diploma: 13.7% ($21,838 median earnings)
– High school graduate: 43.5% ($31,924)
– Some college or Associate’s degree: 29.9% ($25,990)
– Bachelor’s degree: 7.7% ($44,926)
– Graduate or professional degree: 5.1% ($50,284)

#18. Dade County

– 12.7% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor’s degree or higher

– Less than high school diploma: 12.8% ($19,375 median earnings)
– High school graduate: 44.8% ($23,665)
– Some college or Associate’s degree: 29.8% ($29,861)
– Bachelor’s degree: 9.6% ($32,383)
– Graduate or professional degree: 3.1% ($38,304)

#17. Pemiscot County

– 12.7% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor’s degree or higher

– Less than high school diploma: 22.2% ($19,784 median earnings)
– High school graduate: 43.3% ($26,550)
– Some college or Associate’s degree: 21.8% ($30,263)
– Bachelor’s degree: 8.1% ($46,548)
– Graduate or professional degree: 4.6% ($42,862)

#16. Schuyler County

– 12.6% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor’s degree or higher

– Less than high school diploma: 12.4% ($13,221 median earnings)
– High school graduate: 46.2% ($27,321)
– Some college or Associate’s degree: 28.7% ($30,581)
– Bachelor’s degree: 7.5% ($40,000)
– Graduate or professional degree: 5.1% ($49,750)

#15. Monroe County

– 12.4% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor’s degree or higher

– Less than high school diploma: 10.7% ($31,364 median earnings)
– High school graduate: 48.4% ($32,059)
– Some college or Associate’s degree: 28.4% ($25,931)
– Bachelor’s degree: 8.8% ($39,148)
– Graduate or professional degree: 3.6% ($41,875)

#14. New Madrid County

– 12.1% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor’s degree or higher

– Less than high school diploma: 21.2% ($25,069 median earnings)
– High school graduate: 46.7% ($29,862)
– Some college or Associate’s degree: 20% ($31,893)
– Bachelor’s degree: 6.4% ($43,073)
– Graduate or professional degree: 5.7% ($49,653)

#13. Sullivan County

– 11.7% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor’s degree or higher

– Less than high school diploma: 15.7% ($37,063 median earnings)
– High school graduate: 50.2% ($28,125)
– Some college or Associate’s degree: 22.4% ($31,776)
– Bachelor’s degree: 7% ($40,781)
– Graduate or professional degree: 4.7% ($47,976)

#12. Crawford County

– 11.5% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor’s degree or higher

– Less than high school diploma: 22.1% ($18,929 median earnings)
– High school graduate: 39.1% ($28,972)
– Some college or Associate’s degree: 27.3% ($34,173)
– Bachelor’s degree: 7.9% ($39,554)
– Graduate or professional degree: 3.7% ($50,139)

#11. McDonald County

– 11.5% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor’s degree or higher

– Less than high school diploma: 22.5% ($25,833 median earnings)
– High school graduate: 41.3% ($31,319)
– Some college or Associate’s degree: 24.7% ($31,800)
– Bachelor’s degree: 8% ($36,444)
– Graduate or professional degree: 3.5% ($52,813)

#10. Mississippi County

– 11.5% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor’s degree or higher

– Less than high school diploma: 24.3% ($12,459 median earnings)
– High school graduate: 41.8% ($26,531)
– Some college or Associate’s degree: 22.3% ($29,236)
– Bachelor’s degree: 7.3% ($43,341)
– Graduate or professional degree: 4.2% ($46,415)

#9. Ozark County

– 11% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor’s degree or higher

– Less than high school diploma: 17.7% ($16,607 median earnings)
– High school graduate: 43.4% ($21,365)
– Some college or Associate’s degree: 28% ($28,356)
– Bachelor’s degree: 6.5% ($28,529)
– Graduate or professional degree: 4.5% ($34,583)

#8. Douglas County

– 10.8% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor’s degree or higher

– Less than high school diploma: 17.9% ($27,130 median earnings)
– High school graduate: 44% ($26,999)
– Some college or Associate’s degree: 27.3% ($30,358)
– Bachelor’s degree: 7.4% ($39,792)
– Graduate or professional degree: 3.5% ($48,438)

#7. Iron County

– 10.8% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor’s degree or higher

– Less than high school diploma: 18.5% ($12,917 median earnings)
– High school graduate: 41.4% ($24,494)
– Some college or Associate’s degree: 29.3% ($29,856)
– Bachelor’s degree: 7.6% ($39,625)
– Graduate or professional degree: 3.2% ($47,500)

#6. Wright County

– 10.2% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor’s degree or higher

– Less than high school diploma: 19.6% ($22,007 median earnings)
– High school graduate: 45.5% ($23,571)
– Some college or Associate’s degree: 24.7% ($24,989)
– Bachelor’s degree: 6.8% ($29,688)
– Graduate or professional degree: 3.4% ($49,492)

#5. Ripley County

– 10.2% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor’s degree or higher

– Less than high school diploma: 20% ($16,300 median earnings)
– High school graduate: 42.3% ($21,283)
– Some college or Associate’s degree: 27.5% ($21,605)
– Bachelor’s degree: 7.2% ($37,981)
– Graduate or professional degree: 2.9% ($52,277)

#4. Washington County

– 9.9% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor’s degree or higher

– Less than high school diploma: 23.1% ($18,657 median earnings)
– High school graduate: 37.4% ($31,291)
– Some college or Associate’s degree: 29.7% ($27,557)
– Bachelor’s degree: 6.3% ($36,708)
– Graduate or professional degree: 3.6% ($51,000)

#3. Wayne County

– 9.6% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor’s degree or higher

– Less than high school diploma: 23.8% ($16,922 median earnings)
– High school graduate: 39% ($24,577)
– Some college or Associate’s degree: 27.7% ($33,326)
– Bachelor’s degree: 6% ($37,298)
– Graduate or professional degree: 3.6% ($45,588)

#2. Hickory County

– 9% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor’s degree or higher

– Less than high school diploma: 15.7% ($16,563 median earnings)
– High school graduate: 44.5% ($23,309)
– Some college or Associate’s degree: 30.8% ($23,120)
– Bachelor’s degree: 5.9%
– Graduate or professional degree: 3% ($35,625)

#1. Bollinger County

– 8.9% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor’s degree or higher

– Less than high school diploma: 20.2% ($15,938 median earnings)
– High school graduate: 47.3% ($31,755)
– Some college or Associate’s degree: 23.6% ($28,694)
– Bachelor’s degree: 6.1% ($39,091)
– Graduate or professional degree: 2.8% ($43,661)