The 5 Cities with the Best High School Graduation Rates Are All in One State

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Almost 85% of public high school students in the United States now graduate with a regular diploma within four years of starting ninth grade — a record high — according to a study by the National Center for Education Statistics.

The location of the cities where the most people graduate high school, however, might surprise you.

Using data from the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute’s Country Health Rankings and Roadmaps, 24/7 Wall St. identified the metropolitan areas with the highest graduation rates according to the latest available research, and the top five (plus one more in the top ten) were all in the same state: Texas.

Clearly there’s a lot more to Texas high school life than Friday night football and controversial school books (like those that misrepresent the nature and results of slavery). In descending order, the nation’s top high school graduation rates belong to Wichita Falls (97.4%), Midland (96.7%), Beaumont-Port Arthur (96.4%), Lubbock (95.3%), and Sherman-Denison (94.6%), with San Angelo in eighth place (94.0%).

The overall rate for Texas as a whole is 89.7%, tying it with Kentucky for the fourth-highest rate in the country, after Iowa, New Jersey, and Tennessee. However, Texas ranked 30th in 24/7 Wall St.’s report on America’s most and least educated states, based on the percentages of adults who had completed high school or the equivalent and who held at least a bachelor’s degree from college.

That ranking reflects the bad news for the Texas educational system: The admirable high school graduation rate doesn’t necessarily translate to success in college. Only about a third of high school graduates score well enough on the SATs to indicate that they’re prepared for college, and only a little more than half of those with high school diplomas will go on to earn a bachelor’s degree within six years.

“[Texas] High schools are incentivized to graduate kids,” Todd Williams, the education policy adviser to Dallas mayor Mike Rawlings, told the Houston Chronicle last fall, “but they are not historically incentivized for them to be ready to access the next level.” Unlike some of these cities which are among the most educated in the country.