Most Educated City in Each State

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16. Kansas
> Most educated city: Lawrence
> Pct. with bachelor’s degree: 47.0%
> Number of postsecondary institutions: 6
> Median household income: $52,964

Lawrence, Kansas has the highest share of adults with at least a bachelor’s degree of any metro area in the state, and the ninth highest share of all U.S. metro areas. The well-educated population can be partially explained by the presence of the University of Kansas, where more than 19,000 undergraduate students are enrolled.

The Lawrence metro area’s job market is likely shaped by residents’ educational attainment. Jobs in the professional and technical services sector require more than a high school diploma, and in Lawrence, 10.7% of the workforce is employed in the sector. By contrast, 7.3% of the U.S. workforce is employed in professional and technical services.

17. Kentucky
> Most educated city: Lexington-Fayette
> Pct. with bachelor’s degree: 35.5%
> Number of postsecondary institutions: 19
> Median household income: $53,117

Adults across Kentucky, 23.2% of whom have at least a bachelor’s degree, are less likely than adults across the nation to have a college degree. In the state’s most educated metro area, Lexington-Fayette, 35.5% of adults have at least a college degree, in contrast with the national college attainment rate of 30.6%. As is the case in many of the nation’s most educated metro areas, Lexington-Fayette is home to a major research institution that has likely attracted businesses to the area. Nearly 23,000 undergraduates are enrolled at The University of Kentucky.

18. Louisiana
> Most educated city: New Orleans-Metairie
> Pct. with bachelor’s degree: 28.6%
> Number of postsecondary institutions: 31
> Median household income: $48,343

The New Orleans metro area is home to a higher concentration of adults with at least a bachelor’s degree than any other metro in the state. The area’s share of four-year degree holders, though large relative to the state, is relatively small relative to the country as a whole. Only 28.6% of area adults have at least a bachelor’s degree, well above the 23.2% statewide share but slightly below the 30.6% national share. A higher share of adults with at least bachelor’s degree partly attributed to the number of colleges and graduate universities in the area. The New Orleans metro area is home to Tulane University and several others with graduate degree programs. Not only do the graduate students add to the pool of college educated adults, but the research programs often attract businesses that require highly educated workers to the area.

19. Maine
> Most educated city: Portland-South Portland
> Pct. with bachelor’s degree: 39.6%
> Number of postsecondary institutions: 17
> Median household income: $62,074

Nearly 40% of adults in the Portland metro area have at least a bachelor’s degree, a far larger share than the roughly 30% of Maine residents with similar educational attainment. Not surprisingly, incomes are far higher in the Portland area than they are across the state as a whole. The typical Portland area household earns $62,074 a year, well above the national median of $55,775.

20. Maryland
> Most educated city: Baltimore-Columbia-Towson
> Pct. with bachelor’s degree: 38.6%
> Number of postsecondary institutions: 50
> Median household income: $72,520

While the percentage of adults in the Baltimore metro area who have at least a bachelor’s degree of 38.6% is the highest of any metro area in the state, it is slightly lower than the corresponding statewide attainment rate of 38.8%. Except for states with only a single metro area, Maryland is the only state where this is the case. The proximity of Washington D.C., where many of the most highly educated Maryland residents are employed, likely skews Maryland’s overall educational attainment higher.