"Whether we remain a special country will depend on whether that journey is still possible for those trying to make it now: the single mother who works long hours for little pay so her children don’t have to struggle the way she has, the student who takes two buses before dawn to attend a better school halfway across town, the workers in our hotel kitchens, the landscaping crews in our neighborhoods, the late-night janitorial staff that clean our offices, and the bartenders who tonight are standing in the back of a room somewhere. If their American Dreams become impossible, we will have become just another country. [...] This will be the message of my campaign and the purpose of my presidency."
The Context: Marco Rubio's announcement speech is centered around American exceptionalism and reviving the American Dream. He explains that this means ensuring that the US is a place where families can create stable lives for themselves, and thus provide their children with greater opportunity. Rubio connects the stories of those pursuing the American Dream (including his parents' stories) to the dichotomy of the past and the future, yesterday and tomorrow, the twentieth and the twenty-first centuries.
Among others, he describes education as a bridge to a better future. Earlier in the speech, he describes other US leaders as "look[ing] for solutions in yesterday, so they do not see that good-paying modern jobs require different skills and more education than in the past. So they blindly support an outdated higher education system that is too expensive and too inaccessible to those who need it most."
With the emphasis Rubio places on education, both its cost and quality in reviving the American Dream, we asked
What is the landscape of those without college degrees across the country? And what is their relative earning potential?
Perhaps worth a comparison: County-Level Poverty Rates mapped two days ago.