The Most Educated City in Every State

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26. Montana
> Most educated city: Missoula
> Pct. of adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 41.1%
> Median household income: $46,550
> Unemployment rate: 3.5%
> Number of postsecondary institutions: 2

Nationwide, the typical bachelor’s degree holder earns about $21,700 more annually than a person who didn’t complete education beyond high school. In Missoula, the financial incentive to complete higher education is far less pronounced. The median income of adults with a four-year college degree is $32,175 a year — only about $7,800 more than the median income among high school graduates in the metro area. Still, of the three metro areas in Montana, only in Missoula have over 40% of adults 25 and older earned at least a bachelor’s degree.

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27. Nebraska
> Most educated city: Lincoln
> Pct. of adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 39.8%
> Median household income: $59,344
> Unemployment rate: 2.5%
> Number of postsecondary institutions: 13

Nearly 40% of Lincoln’s adult residents hold a college degree, the highest share of any metro area in Nebraska. Located in Lincoln, the University of Nebraska had an enrollment of more than 25,000 students in 2016.

Even though it is the most educated city in the state, Lincoln’s median household income of $59,344 a year just barely surpassed Nebraska’s median income of $56,927. Also, the area’s poverty rate of 12.4% is 1 percentage point higher than the statewide poverty rate.

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28. Nevada
> Most educated city: Reno
> Pct. of adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 29.2%
> Median household income: $58,056
> Unemployment rate: 4.2%
> Number of postsecondary institutions: 13

Fewer than 1 in every 4 adults in Nevada have at least a bachelor’s degree, a smaller share than in all but a handful of other states. However, some parts of the state are better educated than others. In the Reno metro area, some 29.2% of adults have earned a four-year college degree, the highest share in the state but still slightly below the nationwide bachelor’s degree attainment rate of 31.3%.

Areas with higher educational attainment tend report higher incomes, and Reno is no exception. The typical area household earns $58,056 a year, the highest median income of any metro area in the state.

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29. New Hampshire
> Most educated city: Manchester-Nashua
> Pct. of adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 37.3%
> Median household income: $76,254
> Unemployment rate: 2.6%
> Number of postsecondary institutions: 17

Manchester-Nashua is the only place in New Hampshire that qualifies as a metropolitan area, so it is the state’s most educated area by default. Some 37.3% of Manchester-Nashua’s adults hold at least a bachelor’s degree, slightly above New Hampshire’s college attainment rate of 36.6%.

The area also has one of the lowest poverty rates in the nation with 8.2% of people living in poverty. Still, this is higher than New Hampshire’s poverty rate of 7.2%, which is the lowest of any state.

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30. New Jersey
> Most educated city: Trenton
> Pct. of adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 42.7%
> Median household income: $77,650
> Unemployment rate: 4.1%
> Number of postsecondary institutions: 11

Trenton is one of several state capitals to rank as the most educated metro areas within their respective states. Some 42.7% of adults in the Trenton metro area have a college degree or higher, well above the 38.6% share of adults across New Jersey. As is often the case, the most educated metro area in New Jersey also has the highest earning population. The typical household in the metro area earns $77,650 a year, about $1,500 more than the the typical New Jersey household and roughly $20,000 more than the typical American household.