In 2012, Greater Louisville Project reported an increase of over 8,000 young adults with Bachelor’s Degrees or higher between 2000 and 2010 has propelled Louisville into first place in the rate of improvement among its peer cities. For the first time, Louisville produced and attracted similar numbers of educated young adults as perennial top tier cities Charlotte and Columbus – a substantial accomplishment.
During this period, Louisville’s population became more diverse and minorities increased their share of total Bachelor’s Degrees. However, a troubling gap between minority and white degree attainment remains. In 2010, 21% of Hispanics and 16.5% of African Americans held a Bachelor’s Degree or higher, compared to 33.3% of whites age 25 and older – a reminder of the importance of community-based efforts like 55,000 Degrees and 15K Degrees.
Progress on both fronts is necessary if Louisville is to achieve its Deep Driver goal of 40% of the working-age population with college degrees. The city must continue to attract and retain young adults and eliminate its graduation gap if it is to move into the top tier of competitive cities, increasing its ability to grow, retain and attract 21st Century Jobs.