JANUARY 18, 2005 - Posted at 8:00 a.m. CST
LITTLE ROCK, AR - New U.S. Census estimates show that Arkansas has the fastest growth in college graduates from 2000 to 2003. However, statistics show that the state lags so far behind to begin with that it is still well below the national average.
The percentage of Arkansans over age 25 who had a bachelor's degree actually dropped from 2002 to 2003, from 19.7 percent to 19 percent.
Meanwhile, although growing more slowly overall, the national average has increased consistently from 25 percent in 2000 to 26.5 percent in 2003.
Still, the general growth trend in Arkansas has encouraged economists, who say it could lead to more high-paying jobs throughout the state.
The Census Bureau says Arkansas' increase is statistically significant and encouraging.