Special Report

America's Most and Least Educated States: A Survey of All 50

26. Wisconsin
> Pct. of adults with at least a bachelor’s degree:
28.4%
> Pct. of adults with at least a high school diploma: 91.4%
> 2014 median household income: $52,622 (25th highest)
> Median earnings for bachelor degree holders: $47,027 (25th highest)

In Wisconsin, 28.4% of residents had at least a bachelor’s degree, about 1.7 percentage points less than the national rate. As educational attainment was slightly below the national average, so was income. The median household income in Wisconsin was $52,622, about $1,000 less than the national median income. Despite slightly less than average collegiate educational attainment and household income, Wisconsin had a particularly high high school attainment rate. In Wisconsin, 91.4% of adults had at least a high school diploma, the 12th highest rate nationwide.

27. Alaska
> Pct. of adults with at least a bachelor’s degree:
28.0%
> Pct. of adults with at least a high school diploma: 92.9%
> 2014 median household income: $71,583 (3rd highest)
> Median earnings for bachelor degree holders: $56,042 (3rd highest)

Though Alaska was home to the highest percentage of adults with at least a high school diploma, only 28.0% of adults in the state had at least a bachelor’s degree, lower than the nation wide rate of 30.1%. Despite the relatively small proportion of adults with a bachelor’s degree, incomes in Alaska were among the highest in the country. The median household income in Alaska of $71,583 was nearly $18,000 higher than the $53,657 the typical American household earned. Only 3.9% of Alaskan households earned less than $10,000 annually, the second lowest such rate in the country after New Hampshire.

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28. South Dakota
> Pct. of adults with at least a bachelor’s degree:
27.8%
> Pct. of adults with at least a high school diploma: 91.7%
> 2014 median household income: $50,979 (22nd lowest)
> Median earnings for bachelor degree holders: $40,316 (22nd lowest)

In 2014, 27.8% of adults in South Dakota had at least a bachelor’s degree, an increase from 2013 when the corresponding figure was 26.6%. Despite the 1.2 percentage point increase, the second largest in the nation, the collegiate educational attainment rate remained below the corresponding national attainment rate of 30.1%. However, higher levels of education had less of an impact on income in South Dakota than in any other state. Median earnings for those with a graduate or professional degree were only about $49,600 — less than in any other state in the country and significantly less the corresponding national figure of $66,175.

29. Texas
> Pct. of adults with at least a bachelor’s degree:
27.8%
> Pct. of adults with at least a high school diploma: 82.2%
> 2014 median household income: $53,035 (23rd highest)
> Median earnings for bachelor degree holders: $51,491 (23rd highest)

While Texas’s college attainment rate was slightly below the national rate, it was closer to the national average than the state’s high school attainment rates. Just 82.2% of the state’s adults had a high school diploma, the second lowest rate in the country. While Texas’s educational attainment rate was below the national rate by multiple measures, the median household income in Texas was roughly in line with the national rate. The typical household in Texas made $53,035 last year, roughly $600 less than the national median of $53,657.

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30. Iowa
> Pct. of adults with at least a bachelor’s degree:
27.7%
> Pct. of adults with at least a high school diploma: 92.1%
> 2014 median household income: $53,712 (21st highest)
> Median earnings for bachelor degree holders: $46,851 (21st highest)

Iowa’s collegiate educational attainment rate climbed 1.3 percentage points to 27.7% in 2014 from 26.5% in 2013, the largest increase in the country. Despite this increase, Iowa’s collegiate attainment rate was still 2.4 percentage points lower than the corresponding national rate. Unlike its educational attainment, Iowa’s median income was almost the same as the national median income. At $53,712, it was only $55 more than the typical American household’s 2014 income. Despite unremarkable collegiate attainment rates and income levels, 92.1% of adult residents had at least a high school diploma, the seventh highest such rate nationwide.

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