Ten of Ohio’s 100 most educated cities are located in the Miami Valley, with Oakwood ranking the highest in the area at 12th, according to new U.S. Census data.
Oxford placed close behind Oakwood at 16, Mason came in at 24, Centerville at 32, Beavercreek at 36, Springboro at 37, Bellbrook at 39, Clayton at 77, Kettering at 81 and Lebanon at 86, according to census data that includes an education profile of 258 Ohio cities.
The data, compiled from a census survey taken between 2011 and 2015, shows suburbs tend to be some of the most educated communities in the state, making them a desired place for people to live, work and go to school.
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Having a highly educated community is “cyclical” in terms of community success, said Jeff Robinson, communications director at Ohio’s department of higher education.
“An educated community is a thriving community,” Robinson said. “They’re certainly preparing a lot of students in the Dayton area.”
More than 98 percent of Oakwood residents have a high school degree, according to the data. Around 69 percent of Oakwood residents have a bachelor’s degree and more than 35 percent have a graduate or professional degree.
The high level of education in Dayton’s suburbs means higher salaries for people who live there.
People with less than a high school diploma typically make less than $20,000 annually. Those with a diploma can expect to make around $28,000 and those with a bachelor’s degree tend to earn close to $50,000, according to census data.
With the exception of Oxford, area cities that rank in the top 100 have a median household income above $50,000. Like its education level, Oakwood ranks has the highest median household income at $105,000.
School officials in both Oakwood and Centerville said the success of their district can be attributed to supportive communities, staff, students and families.
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“Oakwood citizens and parents are committed to and value education,” said Traci Hale, community related director for Oakwood schools. “That commitment shows in their support of the students and the school district, providing resources, expertise and experiences needed for our students to achieve.”
U.S. News and World Report in April ranked Oakwood schools the 14th best district in the state. Hale said the district makes sure students are prepared as they go off to college or into the workforce.
Centerville superintendent Tom Henderson said it’s important to have an educated community because a high school diploma “is no longer enough for individuals to make a living wage.”
“We owe it to our students to do everything possible to prepare them for their future journey in the work force,” Henderson said.
When people move, the quality of a local school system is almost always a top consideration, said Karen O’Grady, associate partner and sales agent for Coldwell Banker in Dayton and incoming president of the Dayton Area Board of Realtors. People often do their research and check districts online before even asking to see a house that’s up for sale, she said.
The median home value in Oakwood is just under $232,000, according to 2015 census data. Suburbs tend to have higher home values, drawing a correlation between educated communities and home prices.
Parents are willing to pay a little more for less space in Dayton’s suburbs because of the amenities, culture and schools, O’Grady said.
“All of that, in my mind, ties into education,” she said. “These are the people who are typically interested in education.”
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While the Miami Valley’s smaller cities are considered highly educated, Ohio’s large cities were found to have a lower percentage of high school and college grads.
Just over 82 percent of Daytonians have high school degrees, just over 17 percent have a bachelor’s degree and 6.5 percent have a graduate or professional degree. Census data shows Dayton is less educated than Toledo, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Akron and Columbus.
Springfield was found to have a slightly higher percentage of residents with a high school diploma than Dayton but less with a bachelor’s degree or graduate degree, according to the data.
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