Two researchers have determined that, over a period of 40 years, Oconee County made strides in the category of adults with college degrees. In 1970, fewer than five percent of the county population over 25 years old had college degrees. By 2010, however, the percentage rose to more than 20%. Conducting the research were Robert Gallardo, an assistant professor at the Southern Rural Development Center at Mississippi State, and Bill Bishop, editor of Daily Yonder.com, an online news publication covering rural America. They found that the number of adults in the U.S. with college degrees has nearly tripled since 1970, when only 10.7% of adults had graduated from college. The percentage of adults with degrees in counties with small towns, such as Oconee, while increasing, has generally fallen behind the proportion of college-educated residents in urban counties.