Special Report

The Most Educated City in Every State

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

Colorado: Boulder
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 62.5% (state: 41.7%)
> Median household income: $83,755 (state: $71,953)
> July unemployment: 2.4% (state: 2.9%)
> Number of college and universities: 8

Boulder is the best educated metro area in both Colorado and the United States. Some 62.5% of metro area adults have a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared to 41.7% of adults in Colorado and 32.6% of adults nationwide.

College-educated adults are about half as likely as those with only a high school diploma to be out of a job and, not surprisingly, unemployment in Boulder is low. Just 2.4% of metro area workers are unemployed, below both the state unemployment rate of 2.9% and the national rate of 3.7%.

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Connecticut: Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 48.4% (state: 39.6%)
> Median household income: $91,079 (state: $76,348)
> July unemployment: 3.6% (state: 3.6%)
> Number of college and universities: 19

Connecticut is one of the best educated states in the country, with a bachelor’s degree attainment rate of 39.6%. Each of the four metro areas in the state is home to a larger share of college-educated adults than the 32.6% share of adults nationwide.

In the Bridgeport metro area, 48.4% of adults have at least a four-year degree, the largest share in the state. Incomes tend to rise with educational attainment, and in Bridgeport, the typical household earns $91,079 a year, the most of any Connecticut metro area and well above the median annual household income of $76,348 statewide.

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Delaware: Dover
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 23.3% (state: 31.3%)
> Median household income: $54,419 (state: $64,805)
> July unemployment: 3.7% (state: 3.3%)
> Number of college and universities: 5

Less than a quarter of Dover adults 25 and older hold a bachelor’s degree, well below the nationwide college degree attainment rate of 32.6% and the statewide rate of 31.3%. Yet because Dover is the only major metropolitan area in Delaware, it still ranks as the state’s most educated city by default.

Like many other cities with lower college degree attainment rates than the national average, Dover has a relatively low median household income. The typical metro area household earns just $54,419, which is about $7,500 below the national median.

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Florida: Gainesville
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 41.6% (state: 30.4%)
> Median household income: $50,495 (state: $55,462)
> July unemployment: 3.1% (state: 3.3%)
> Number of college and universities: 9

Gainesville is home to the University of Florida, a large public university, as well as a handful of other colleges and universities. Thousands of students graduate from UF every year, and this likely contributes to Gainesville’s 41.6% bachelor’s degree attainment rate — which is more than 11 percentage points beyond the state rate.

Though higher educational levels tend to correlate with higher incomes, this is not the case in Gainesville. The metro area’s median household income of $50,495 is nearly $5,000 lower than the median income statewide.

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Georgia: Athens-Clarke County
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 40.4% (state: 31.9%)
> Median household income: $51,503 (state: $58,756)
> July unemployment: 3.4% (state: 3.6%)
> Number of college and universities: 3

Many of the metro areas on this list are home to major research institutions, and Athens, home to the University of Georgia, is one of them. In Athens, 40.4% of adults have at least a bachelor’s degree compared to just 31.9% of adults across the state as a whole. As is often the case in the metro areas on this list, Athens appears to have a healthy job market. Just 3.4% of area workers are unemployed, below both the state unemployment rate of 3.6% and the national rate of 3.7%.

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