Higher Education Attainment in Texas


Increasing higher education attainment among 25 to 34 year olds in Texas is the overarching goal of the Texas Higher Education Strategic Plan. This map uses the available data from the American Community Survey (ACS) to provide a visualization of higher education attainment in Texas.


About the Dots

This is a dot-density map where large concentrations of dots represent high-density population centers. The dots themselves are not accurate. The dots for each category of attainment are randomly dispersed within census tracts according to estimates provided by the ACS. Dots are not associated with specific individuals or points. However, in the aggregate, the color gradient of this dot-density map provide a unique perspective on the geographic distribution attainment.


Census Tracts often include bodies of water, parks, and airports. To avoid placing dots in places where people generally do not live, such as on water bodies and in state parks, we used ancillary data from the 2010 Census to make the dot-density map dasymetric. Inspiration for this map, as well as the procedure for creating a dasymetric dot-density map came from the map of Educational Attainment in America by Professor Kyle Walker of the Texas Christian University Center for Urban Studies.


About the Data

American Community Survey data for this map comes from the B15001 table and was downloaded from the National Historical Geographic Information System (NHGIS). NHGIS is part of the Minnesota Population Center at the University of Minnesota.


The data is limited to estimates of higher-education attainment for individuals between the ages of 25 and 34 during the period from 2011 to 2015. Increasing the percentage of Texans age 25 to 34 with a post-secondary certificate or degree is central to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board's 60x30TX strategic plan. It is important to note that post-secondary certificate holders are not identified in the data published by the ACS. For that reason, the category "Certificate holders and non-completers" will include some individuals who have completed a post-secondary credential (certificate) as well as those who have not.


The NHGIS .shp and .csv files were processed with ArcGIS python tools using the Jupyter Notebook interface. The complete code is available here. For more information about the map, contact Ernest Jacquez (ernest.jacquez@thecb.state.tx.us) in the division of Academic Quality and Workforce, or John Dinning (john.dinning@thecb.state.tx.us) in the division of Strategic Planning and Funding.