Special Report

The Most Educated City in Every State

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1. Alabama
> Most educated city: Huntsville
> Pct. of adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 36.8%
> Median household income: $58,238
> Unemployment rate: 3.6%
> Number of postsecondary institutions: 11

Home to both Alabama A&M University and the University of Alabama Huntsville, the Huntsville metro area is Alabama’s most educated. The higher education level could be a contributing factor in Huntsville’s higher median household income of $58,238 a year. Statewide, just 24.7% of adults have at least a college degree — well below the 36.8% share in Huntsville — and the median household income is $46,257.

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2. Alaska
> Most educated city: Anchorage
> Pct. of adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 32.2%
> Median household income: $82,203
> Unemployment rate: 6.5%
> Number of postsecondary institutions: 5

Both metro areas in Alaska — Anchorage and Fairbanks — are home to a larger share of adults with at least bachelor’s degree than the statewide share of 29.6%. In Anchorage, 32.2% of adults have a bachelor’s degree, a higher share than the 31.5% share in Fairbanks.

Across broad populations, greater educational attainment generally leads to higher incomes. Anchorage is not only Alaska’s most educated metro area, but also its highest earning. The typical Anchorage household earns $82,203 a year, compared to $77,328 in Fairbanks and $76,440 statewide.

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3. Arizona
> Most educated city: Flagstaff
> Pct. of adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 35.4%
> Median household income: $55,091
> Unemployment rate: 5.0%
> Number of postsecondary institutions: 4

Some 35.4% Flagstaff, Arizona’s adult population earned at least a bachelor’s degree. Despite its relatively high education level compared to the rest of the state, Flagstaff has a surprisingly high poverty rate. Nearly 18% of its residents live below the poverty level, compared to the U.S. poverty rate of 14%. Flagstaff also has relatively few postsecondary institutions at just four.

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4. Arkansas
> Most educated city: Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers
> Pct. of adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 30.9%
> Median household income: $51,848
> Unemployment rate: 2.6%
> Number of postsecondary institutions: 11

Some 30.9% of adults in Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers have at least a bachelor’s degree — the largest share of any of Arkansas’ six metro areas and well above the statewide bachelor’s degree attainment rate of 22.4%. A college education often leads to greater job opportunities, and in Fayetteville, joblessness is relatively uncommon. Only 2.6% of the metro area’s labor force is unemployed, by far the smallest share among metro areas in the state.

Source: Thinkstock

5. California
> Most educated city: San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara
> Pct. of adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 50.1%
> Median household income: $110,040
> Unemployment rate: 3.7%
> Number of postsecondary institutions: 32

San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara is the only metro area in California — and one of only eight nationwide — where over half of all adults have at least a bachelor’s degree. The high level of education is likely attributable to the kinds of jobs available in the area. Also known as Silicon Valley, the San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara area is home to dozens of major technology companies, including Google, Facebook, and Apple. Jobs at such companies attract college-educated adults from around the country and also tend to be high paying. The typical household in the area earns $110,040 a year, the highest median income of any U.S. metro area.

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