Friday, June 30, 2006

More education means less living?

Unable to attempt to heed Steve Sailer's request for a testing of his theory (I only have the student version of SPSS which can't handle large quantities of data) that Republicans tend to do better than Democrats economically after controlling for education, I went at state data. There's not much in the way of red or blue states being disproportionately above or below the national trendline when either percentage of a state with a bachelor's degree or higher or the percentage of a state with a bachelor's degree or higher minus the percentage of the state with less than a high school diploma are compared to the standard of living (graph shows % with bachelor's or more on the x-axis, standard of living on the y-axis). Eyeballing a more detailed breakdown of educational attainment doesn't look promising either.

An odd 'discovery', though, is how strong the correlation between the percentage of a state with a bachelor's degree and the state's standard of living is. For both red and blue states, it's statistically significant. But the trends are in opposite directions. Bush states show a correlation of .61. Kerry states are -.50. Even without DC in the mix, the trend is still downward. Nationally, of course, there exists no statistically reliable relationship between education and the standard of living (as the two camps cancel one another out). Coincidence? Geography? Or is there some reason that red states benefit materially from an educated population while blue states just don't seem to?



Steve Sailer said...


What goes into the Standard of Living index?

What are the top two red states: Colorado and Virginia? (They usually show up as the class of the red states.)

crush41 said...

Median family income divided by the ACCRA numbers from the MO state government's site. Nothing too complex.

This probably gives a slight advantage to states with larger average family size (with teenagers working part-time jobs, etc) (although ACCRA surveys track family expenditure patterns that I think would compensate for the income benefit). I didn't adjust that out since it reflects a real cause of an increased (monetary) standard of living.

Colorado is on top, Utah is second, and Viriginia is third for red states.