The Most Educated Cities

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10. Durham-Chapel Hill, N.C.
> Bachelor’s degree or higher: 45.5% (tied-9th highest)
> Median household income: $53,492 (100th highest)
> Median earnings – bachelor’s degree: $43,007 (166th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 16.9% (164th highest)

More than 45% of adults living in the Durham-Chapel Hill metro area had attained at least a bachelor’s degree as of last year, tied for the 9th highest figure among all U.S. cities. By contrast, just under 30% of adults nationwide had done so. While most Americans with bachelor’s degrees earn considerably more than their less-educated peers, higher education does not guarantee higher wages in the Durham metro area. A typical Durham resident with a bachelor’s degree earned $43,007, lower than the national median of $50,050. Overall, however, the median household income in Durham was $53,492, in line with the national median. Like other well-educated cities, the area is home to several large academic institutions, including Duke University and The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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9. Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, Conn.
> Bachelor’s degree or higher: 45.5% (tied-9th highest)
> Median household income: $82,084 (2nd highest)
> Median earnings – bachelor’s degree: $67,061 (3rd highest)
> Poverty rate: 9.6% (21st lowest)

With a median household income of $82,084, Bridgeport metro area residents are among the nation’s wealthiest. Area residents were far more likely to be employed in the financial sector than adults across the nation, and were paid nearly three times as much as their peers nationwide. High incomes in the region are also likely due in large part to high rates of educational attainment. More than 45% of adults in the area had at least a bachelor’s degree, higher than the statewide rate of 37.2% and also that of every other metro area in the state. A typical area adult with a graduate or professional degree earned more than $90,000 in 2013, more than similarly educated residents in all but two other U.S. metro areas.

8. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif.
> Bachelor’s degree or higher: 46.7%
> Median household income: $91,533 (the highest)
> Median earnings – bachelor’s degree: $74,727 (2nd highest)
> Poverty rate: 10.5% (27th lowest)

As one of the nation’s high-tech and information hubs, it is not particularly surprising that San Jose metro area residents are well educated and well paid. Nearly 47% of adults in the area had attained at least a bachelor’s degree last year. A typical household in the area earned $91,533, the highest median household income among all U.S. cities. Residents with graduate degrees also led their peers nationwide, with median earnings of $102,307. A typical American with a graduate degree earned $65,565, by contrast. Many highly paid area residents are employed in the information sector, where wages are more than four-and-a-half times higher than information sector jobs nationwide. Area residents are also three times more likely to work in the industry than their country-wide peers.