Special Report

The Most Educated City in Every State

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Montana: Missoula
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 46.0%
> Median household income: $54,311
> Unemployment rate: 3.2%
> Number of colleges and universities: 2

Missoula is the best educated metro area in Montana. Some 46.0% of metro area adults have a bachelor’s degree or higher, over 10 percentage points higher than the bachelor’s degree attainment rate of 32.3% statewide and the 32.2% rate in Billings, the metro area with the second highest bachelor’s degree attainment rate in the state.

Workers with a college education typically have access to higher paying jobs — and Missoula has the highest concentration of wealth of any metro area in Montana. Some 4.2% of area households earn $200,000 or more a year, compared to 3.5% of households statewide.

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Nebraska: Lincoln
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 38.1%
> Median household income: $60,057
> Unemployment rate: 2.6%
> Number of colleges and universities: 13

Lincoln, Nebraska, is one of several iconic college towns to rank on this list. The metro area is home to the flagship campus of the University of Nebraska, the largest postsecondary education institution in the state. The school, which enrolls nearly 5,000 graduate and professional degree students, awarded more than 5,000 degrees in 2015. Partially because many university graduates remain in the Lincoln metro area after graduation — not to mention the school’s 1,705 faculty members in positions that generally require a bachelor’s degree at the very least — Lincoln’s 38.1% bachelor’s degree attainment rate is the highest in Nebraska. Statewide, 31.7% of adults have a bachelor’s degree.

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Nevada: Reno
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 31.0%
> Median household income: $61,360
> Unemployment rate: 3.6%
> Number of colleges and universities: 13

Reno is the only metro area in Nevada with a higher concentration of college-educated adults than the state as a whole. Reno’s 31.0% bachelor’s degree attainment rate is higher than 24.9% state rate as well as the 24.4% rate in Las Vegas and the 23.7% rate in Carson City.

Workers with a college education typically have access to higher paying jobs — and Reno has the highest concentration of wealth of any metro area in Nevada. Some 6.0% of all area households earn $200,000 or more a year, compared to 4.8% of households statewide.

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New Hampshire: Manchester-Nashua
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 37.6%
> Median household income: $78,769
> Unemployment rate: 2.5%
> Number of colleges and universities: 17

Manchester-Nashua ranks as the best educated metro area in New Hampshire by default, as it is the only metro area in the state. Still, 37.6% of area adults have a bachelor’s degree, a larger share than the 36.9% of adults statewide. Additionally, Manchester’s bachelor’s degree attainment rate is higher than that of most other metro areas in the broader New England region.

Better-educated areas are often high earning, and in Manchester, the typical household earns $78,769 a year, over $5,000 more than the typical household in New Hampshire as a whole.

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New Jersey: Trenton
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 43.9%
> Median household income: $79,173
> Unemployment rate: 3.8%
> Number of colleges and universities: 11

In Trenton, New Jersey’s capital, 43.9% of adults have a bachelor’s degree or higher, the largest share of any metro area in the state by a wide margin. In Ocean City, the metro area with the second highest bachelor’s degree attainment rate, 33.5% of adults have a bachelor’s degree.

Higher educational attainment can open the door to higher paying jobs — and high incomes are relatively common in Trenton. Slightly more than 15% of all metro area households earn at least $200,000 a year, the largest share in the state and sixth largest share nationwide.

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