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Education Is Not King Along the Texas-Mexico Border

December 22, 2010
Thomas Segel

Americans have just received a report from the U.S. Census Bureau that those of us living along the border feel are decades late in being released. The majority of Texas counties along the border with Mexico have the least educated population in the nation. From Brownsville to El Paso, county after county claim to have populations where large percentages of residents have less than a high school diploma.

In the Rio Grande Valley, Starr County ranks at the top of the list among counties with less than 50% of the people more than 25 years of age who have obtained a high school diploma. Just over 46% of the residents over 25 years of age have completed high school. However, it should also be noted that county improved its educational level by 12 points in the past ten years.

In the Brownsville or Cameron County reporting area 62 percent of adults over age 25 have graduated from high school. El Paso County in the far west of Texas has about 69% of its adults in the high school graduation category.

This may come as a big surprise to most of America. For those of us who make the border communities our home, it is something we have been telling anyone who would listen for decades. Not only is the border area under educated, it is also under employed. Poverty seems to be the rule along the border, not the exception. Almost a third of the population in Border Counties can report family incomes of less than $25,000 a year. It should also be noted that most of this is predominately a Hispanic population that has settled in the border region as a gateway address in the United States. By an overwhelming majority, these immigrants have arrived from Mexico seeking to improve their lives. The people come from a country, which until very recently only mandated a sixth grade education.

And now… the rest of the story. …..

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