Arizona and New Mexico fail in educational attainment in the US’ Four Corners

Courtney Lane

The US Four Corners region comprises Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona. Together, these four states are known for their outdoorsy life and places of intense nature.

Other than that, the Four Corners can also concentrate a lot of the country’s inequality according to the latest data from the US census.

Look at educational attainment of the economically active layer of the population, aged 25 to 64 years old, both Arizona and New Mexico’s populations peak at “Some College or associate’s degree.” These states’ populations tend to be less educated and have a higher unemployment rate.

Arizona’s Unemployment rate for the 25-64 age group is at 4 percent; however, of people who have obtained a bachelor’s degree, only 2.7 percent are unemployed compared to “some or associate’s degree” at 3.8 percent.

The four corners education level among citizens aged 25-64 (Source:

New Mexico’s Unemployment rate for those at 25-64 is 5 percent; however, of people who have obtained a bachelor’s this number is 2.6 percent compared to “some or associate’s degree” at 4.9 percent

Colorado and Utah, otherwise, had more citizens completing a bachelor’s degree. Colorado’s unemployment rate is significantly less than Arizona and New Mexico at 3.1 per cent for people aged 25-64. Utah is in similar standings with an unemployment rate of 2.1 per cent.

Utah and Colorado also have higher family incomes. People living in these states tend to finish their college degrees. In contrast, in New Mexico and Arizona, the household income is lower, and individuals are less likely to finish their four-year degrees or have any degree.

In Utah, 85.9 percent of those with a bachelor’s degree participate in the workforce. This relatively high rate keeps their family income over the national poverty level and allows people to pay off their loans and save more money for their kids’ college. These kids will also be more likely to complete a bachelor’s degree since there is a less financial burden.

In Colorado, 88 percent of those with a bachelor’s degree participate in the workforce, creating a similar structure to Utah’s; keeping the majority of the population out of poverty or, at the very least, above the poverty level.

However, when looking in the other two states, New Mexico has 45 percent of its workforce living below poverty level. 73.8 percent of the population doesn’t have a bachelor’s degree as just over half of the population below poverty.

In Arizona there is a similar trend. With 47.3 percent of people living below the national poverty line while 70 percent of the population did not complete their higher education. Again, this is probably due to the fact that many families do not have the money to send their kids to school.

The data showed that the situation in Four Corners has a lot to improve in terms of education attainment as reflective of higher salaries. It is safe to say not only does the location matter, but the funding put into public, free education is not enough for residents complete their degrees and thus push salaries up.

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