America’s Best (and Worst) Educated States

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5. Vermont
> Bachelor’s degree or higher: 35.4%
> Median household income:  $52,776 (19th highest)
> Pct. below poverty level: 11.5% (tied-8th lowest)

In Vermont, 35.4% of adult residents have at least a college degree, with 21.4% of the population holding a bachelor’s and another 14% holding a master’s, doctorate, or professional degree. Median earnings for adults with advanced degrees in Vermont is $50,593 a year — over $13,000 less than the national median. Only 2.8% of residents have less than a ninth grade education, less than half of the 6% nationwide, and another 5.5% finished ninth grade but dropped out of high school, one of the lowest rates in the nation. Among those aged 16 to 19, 97.2% were either in school or had graduated — the third-highest rate in the nation.

4. Connecticut
> Bachelor’s degree or higher: 36.2%
> Median household income:  $65,753 (4th highest)
> Pct. below poverty level: 10.9% (5th lowest)

In Connecticut, an estimated 15.7% of the adult population has either a graduate or professional degree, one of the highest percentages in the U.S., behind only Massachusetts and Maryland. The median annual earnings for this group is $75,875, higher than all but a handful of states — twice the median earnings for an adult with only a high school diploma. Residents who don’t earn college also do well; median earnings for the group was $32,869, higher than in any other state.

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3. Colorado
> Bachelor’s degree or higher: 36.7%
> Median household income:  $55,387 (15th highest)
> Pct. below poverty level: 13.5% (18th lowest)

Colorado residents are among the most-educated people in the country — 23.3% of the adults have completed up to a bachelor’s degrees and another 13.4% have also completed advanced degrees. Colorado’s high school participation and graduation rates below the national average. Only 94.1% of residents aged 16 to 19 are either in high school or have graduated.

2. Maryland
> Bachelor’s degree or higher: 36.9%
> Median household income:  $70,004 (the highest)
> Pct. below poverty level: 10.1% (2nd lowest)

In Maryland, 16.5% of the population holds a graduate or professional degree of some kind, behind only Massachusetts. Residents with these degrees are among the highest paid in the country, with median annual earnings of $77,166, behind only New Jersey and Virginia. Only one state — New Hampshire — has a lower poverty rate than Maryland’s 10.1%. This rate is likely driven downwards by the 36.9% of adults who have college degrees, among whom the poverty rate is just 3.2%.

1. Massachusetts
> Bachelor’s degree or higher: 39.1%
> Median household income:  $62,859 (5th highest)
> Pct. below poverty level: 11.6% (9th lowest)

In Massachusetts, 39.1% of adults have at least a bachelor’s degree, more than 10 percentage points above the national rate of 28.5%. Additionally, 16.8% of adults have a graduate or professional degree, again the highest percentage in the nation. Although the median annual earnings of $53,765 for those with a bachelor’s degree is very high, adults with either a graduate or a professional degree earn far more. Their median earnings exceed $70,000. Academic success is not limited to adults, as nearly 97% of individuals between the ages of 16 and 19 are either enrolled in high school or have graduated — one of the country’s highest rates.

Also Read: America’s Worst-Educated States