Map of Education and Home Value

This is an interactive bivariate map showing best counties for High School Attainment and Home Values. Zoom in to see details or hover over to get detailed information.

Legend Home Value and Best Schools

This map, explores the relationship between high school attainment by percentage, and house prices by Zillow home value index (Zhvi). The education data is from 2017 and the Zhvi from April 2019. For more information on Zhvi go to Zillow research.

To get a better idea of the home prices and school attainment, a scatter plot was included. Since home prices and High School attainment percentages were skewed, they were divided into quartiles. For a clear depiction of the quartiles, check the scatter plot.

The size of the circles represent, the population of each county. If you hover over the scatter plot you can also get more information on each county and precise values.

Shanon, South Dakota and Wade Hampton, Alaska, were counties with no School attainment data. Furthermore, 412 counties had no Zhvi index. The counties with missing data were depicted with white. Their Zhvi, and high school attainment percentage is displayed as NA.

Due to the lack of consistent information from State to State, High School completion was used as a proxy for School ratings. Zhvi was used as a proxy for home sale price.

20 Best School Counties with Affordable Housing

According to this data, the 20 most affordable school counties with affordable properties in the US are:

  1. Jewel County, Kansas: $44,300 and 94.81%
  2. Republic County, Kansas: $50,700 and 95.06%
  3. Lincoln County, Kansas: $48,500 and 94.25%
  4. Comanche County, Kansas: $38,600 and 95.52%
  5. Smith County, Kansas: $42,500 and 93.17%
  6. Mitchell County, Kansas: $75,900 and 95.32%
  7. Clark Count, Kansas: $54,500 and 93.45%
  8. Barber County, Kansas: $48,400 and 92.61%
  9. Osbourne County, Kansas: $44,600 and 91.97%
  10. Phillips County, Kansas: $53,500 and 93.17%
  11. Lane County, Kansas: $61,000 and 93.46%
  12. Graham County, Kansas: $62,100 and 93.27%
  13. Ottawa County, Kansas: $87,300 and 94.85%
  14. Rawlins County, Kansas: $83,800 and 94.56%
  15. Trego County, Kansas: $67,600 and 93.16%
  16. Rush County, Kansas: $50,600 and 90.85%
  17. Chase County, Kansas: $58,900 and 92.02%
  18. Hodgeman County, Kansas: $63,600 and 92.6%
  19. Rooks County, Kansas: $54,200 and 91.24%
  20. Neosho County, Kansas: $59,400 and 91.87%

There is a clear trend. Kansas offers the cheapest housing and the best education. Yes, places like Falls Church Virginia have a high educational attainment, but at the same time have really high Real Estate Property Values (mustard color).

Kansas offers the best of both worlds. Affordable housing and good education (green color).

It was not a surprise that the Midwest is where you are more likely to find the American Dream!

The big losers are mainly areas in California and Miami Dade County, with high property values and low school attainment (red).

Then there are the left behind. Counties with low property values and low educational attainment (blue).


The Secondary School completion data and population data for this map were obtained from the US Census Bureau. The House Value Index was obtained from Zillow. The data used was the Summary of the month. The Shapefiles were obtained from Natural Earth. The code was obtained and altered from Let's make a bubble map. The guide to make a bivariate map was from Bivariate Choropleth Map. The colors were obtained from hclwizard.

The design was inspired by Bo McCready's Education and Unemployment map.

Made by Luz K. Molina with D3.js.

Inspiration for Best Schools and Affordable Housing

I always thought it was amazing how kids in the US had the privilege of going to a nearby public school. I had to commute for at least an hour for private education. It was a situation I dreaded. I wanted to walk to school so bad, but at the time it was not possible. Years later, while living in the US, I found out this was not always the case. Not all neighborhoods have great schools, and not all great neighborhoods ensure great education. I was surprised to find out, in some Florida counties, kids had to be bused to a different school. This was a way to prevent predominantly poor and minority schools from lagging behind, while encouraging equal performance no matter where kids lived. It is great that authorities want poor communities to have equal chances at succeeding as rich or more affluent areas. Unfortunately a longer commute is not just a waste of time, but awful for the environment. I can't think of a better solution, but it is about time a different solution can resolve this disparity. I did not think more about it since I had no kids at the time.

A few years later, I had a conversation with an acquaintance that worked for the oil industry. He was telling me he had the opportunity to choose between living in Louisiana (I cannot remember the exact location) and living in Houston TX. The catch was in housing and schooling. He said Louisiana homes where inexpensive, but schools were not great so he had to budget on a private school. He also said Houston had great public schools, but finding a good school district required to spend much more in housing. He said at the end, it was cheaper to move to Houston. I felt we were lucky, we were living in Katy, TX at the time. We could afford a house in an excellent school district. This would eventually change.


We eventually moved overseas. We relocated to England. At first we were lost in the English school system. It was not that hard. We were just new. In general, most parents seemed to be happy with their kids' education. A mom told me she wanted to change her son's school. His current assigned school was not the best. She explained why she disliked the school. It was low performing. Most of the students were the children of immigrants. English was their second language and their performance lagged behind other schools. Yes, I know the story, I am Colombian - American. I know Hispanics lag in performance at schools. Lack of formal education from the parents, and low English proficiency. I personally believe having a bilingual child with a multicultural background enriches a classroom. She had to appeal for the change. She was told the school she wanted, was giving preferences to siblings. Her son had no siblings. She argued her son was being discriminated for being an only child. She eventually got him in the school she preferred. Parents are always looking for better options no matter where they live. There is always a well-intended rule that has a negative effect.

After we moved overseas, we were going to move back to the US in 3 years. We could technically relocate anywhere we wanted, granted we found a job. Right before moving back I remembered one of the many articles that come out each year about which are the best places to live in the USA. Unfortunately these compendiums change so much each year. It was hard to believe all these comprehensive lists changed so much by year and publication. They include cost of living and jobs. In my position all I cared about, was housing and schools. It was about then, that I decided I could make something more complete than an article with a list of cities.

Our job search was not as fast or easy as we wanted. We relocated close to my in-laws. At the end, having family nearby was more important and useful with small children.

Map with cheapest housing and best shools