A college education can affect nearly every aspect of a person’s life, and it may be more important now than ever before. Studies show the typical four-year college graduate earns $21,000 more than the typical high school graduate.

A four-year college degree may not make sense for everyone, however, and many are unable to afford college. Bachelor’s degree attainment rates vary considerably across the country.

Nationwide, 30.6% of adults have at least a bachelor’s degree. In the Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas metro area, the 33.4% share is slightly larger the comparable national share. Across Texas as a whole, some 28.4% of adults have at least a bachelor’s degree, one of the lower shares compared to all states.

Of the 25 metro area in Texas, Dallas-Fort Worth’s bachelor’s degree attainment rate is the third highest.

Those with a college education are often better equipped to weather economic downturns and remain employed. The educational attainment rate in Dallas-Fort Worth may partially explain the state of the area’s labor market. Across the metro area, 4.2% of the labor force are out of work, lower than the 4.7% national unemployment rate.

Earning a college degree is one of the best ways to expand opportunities, especially to higher-paying jobs. The relatively high bachelor’s degree attainment rate in Dallas-Fort Worth partially explains income levels across the metro area population. The typical household in the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area earns $61,644 a year, well above the $55,775 median income nationwide.

A higher bachelor’s degree attainment rate in a given metro area often means that a larger than typical share of area adults also have a high school diploma. Similarly, a lower than average bachelor’s degree attainment rate often accompanies a lower than average share of adults with at least a high school diploma.

There are exceptions, however. While adults in the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area are more likely to have a bachelor’s degree than adults across the country as a whole, the area is home to a lower than typical share of adults with a high school diploma. Across Dallas-Fort Worth, 84.4% of adults have completed high school, compared to 87.1% of American adults.