Wednesday, May 29, 2013

How Educated Were People in Worcester County, Mass. in the 1940 Census?

Anne Gillespie Mitchell had a fascinating blog post on her Ancestry Reference Desk blog today titled "How Educated Were Your Ancestors?"  She used the education column in the 1940 U.S. Census to see the spread of education among men born between 1864 and 1884 in Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts.

My grandfather, Frederick Walton Seaver, was born in 1876 in Leominster, Worcester, Massachusetts and spent his whole life there.  According to the 1940 U.S. Census, he attended two years of high school (the notation H-2 in column 14 of the enumeration):


That got me thinking about the folks out in the central part of Massachusetts, where my Seaver family resided.  Does the education level attained for persons like my grandparents (born between, say, 1866 and 1886) vary from that found for men in Boston by Anne?

I selected my search terms:

*  Resided in Worcester, Massachusetts, USA in 1940 Census (exact match)
*  Birth year between 1866 and 1886 (exact match)

Here are the results (searched for male, female and everyone):

1)  All persons in Worcester County born between 1866 and 1886:  84,215 total; males 39,967; females: 44,203

2)  Persons with 1st grade of elementary school:  684  (0.8%); males 380 (0.9%); females 304 (0.7%)
3)  Persons with 2nd grade of elementary school: 1,508 (1.8%); males 802 (2.0%); females 704 (1.6%)
4)  Persons with 3rd grade of elementary school:  2,186 (2.6%); males 1,191 (3.0%); females 994 (2.2%)
5)  Persons with 4th grade of elementary school:  4,166 (4.9%); males 2,166 (5.4%); females 1,999 (4.5%)
6)  Persons with 5th grade of elementary school:  3,634 (4.3%); males 2,175 (5.4%); females 1,858 (4.2%)
7)  Persons with 6th grade of elementary school:  6,296 (7.5%); males 3,140 (7.9%); females 3,155 (7.1%)
8)  Persons with 7th grade of elementary school:  4,512 (5.4%); males 2,119 (5.3%); females 2,391 (5.4%)
9)  Persons with 8th grade of elementary school:  23,322 (27.7%); males 11,306 (28.3%); females 12,019 (27.2%)

Total with some elementary school education:  46,308 (55.0%); males 23,279 (58.2%); females 23,424 (53.0%)

10)  Persons with 1 year of high school:  7,226 (8.6%); males 3,086 (7.7%); females 4,141 (9.4%)
11)  Persons with 2 years of high school:  3,490 (4.1%); males 1,515 (3.8%); females 1,975 (4.5%)
12)  Persons with 3 years of high school:  1,496 ( 1.8%); males  653 (1.6%); females 843 (1.9%)
13)  Persons with 4 years of high school:  8,811 (10.5%); males 3,417 (8.5%); females 5,394 (12.2%)

Total with some high school education:  21,023 (25.0%); males 8,671 (21.7%); females 12,353 (27.9%)

14)  Persons with 1 year of college:  937 (1.1%); males 378 (0.9%); females 559 (1.3%)
15)  Persons with 2 years of college:  1,191 (1.4%); males 491 (1.2%); females 700 (1.6%)
16)  Persons with 3 years of college:  562 (0.7%); males 198 (0.5%); females 364 (0.8%)
17)  Persons with 4 years of college:  2,045 (2.4%); males 1,045 (2.6%); females 1,000 (2.3%)
18)  Persons with 5 years or more of college:  544 (0.6%); males 371 (0.9%); females 173 (0.4%)

Total with some college education : 5,279 (6.3%); males 2,483 (6.2%); females 2,796 (6.3%)

Total with some education:  72,610 (86.2%); males 34,433 (86.2%); females 38,573 (87.3%)

Some conclusions:

*  There are 11,605 persons born between 1866 and 1886 residing in Worcester County, Massachusetts who listed no education at all.
*  A higher percentage of females listed some education than males.
*  A higher percentage of males than females had only an elementary school education
*  A higher percentage of females than males had some high school education
*  A higher percentage of females had some college education.
*  About 31% of all persons at least graduated from high school.

Comparing the results to Anne's results for men in Boston, it appears that men in Worcester County had a slightly lower level of education (86% vs. 90%).

I expected education levels for females would be significantly less than males, and I expected that there the percentage of at least high school graduates would be lower.  Data trumps expectations!

That was an interesting study.  Thank you, Anne, for this afternoon's bit of genealogy fun!

Now i'm wondering if a similar study in, say, a farming state, would show significant differences.  Or in a state with many immigrants in this age group.  I wonder how the statistics would change for persons in, say, the 1910 to 1920 birth year range.

The URL for this post is:  http://www.geneamusings.com/2013/05/how-educated-were-people-in-worcester.html

Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver

1 comment:

genealogylady.net said...

It is nice to hear of someone else from Worcester (or Worcester roots).
Worcester is known for all its colleges and universities so your education question is an interesting one.
http://www.worcesterma.gov/living-working/sites-sounds/colleges-universities