Special Report

The Most Educated City in Every State

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Kansas: Lawrence
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 56.2% (state: 33.8%)
> Median household income: $54,668 (state: $58,218)
> July unemployment: 3.0% (state: 3.3%)
> Number of college and universities: 5

Many of the best educated metro areas in the United States are college towns, and Lawrence, Kansas, is one of them. Home to the University of Kansas, Lawrence is one of only nine metro areas nationwide where over half of all adults have at least a bachelor’s degree.

Adults in Lawrence are also more likely to have completed high school than adults in the other three metro areas in the state. The high school diploma attainment rate in the area is 96.6%, well above the 91.0% rate across the state as a whole.

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Kentucky: Lexington-Fayette
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 38.2% (state: 24.8%)
> Median household income: $56,784 (state: $50,247)
> July unemployment: 3.4% (state: 4.3%)
> Number of college and universities: 17

Kentucky’s bachelor’s degree attainment rate of 24.8% is among the lowest of any state. Not all parts of the state, however, have similarly low educational attainment. In the Lexington-Fayette metro area, 38.2% of adults have a four-year college degree, by far the highest of any metro area in the state. Nationwide, 32.6% share of adults have a bachelor’s degree.

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Louisiana: New Orleans-Metairie
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 30.6% (state: 24.3%)
> Median household income: $50,301 (state: $47,905)
> July unemployment: 4.0% (state: 4.3%)
> Number of college and universities: 32

New Orleans is the only Louisiana city in which more than 30% of residents 25 and older have a bachelor’s degree. Partly contributing to the higher educational attainment rate in the metro area are the numerous educational opportunities in the city. There are 32 colleges and universities in New Orleans, more than in every other metro area in the state.

Incomes tend to rise with educational attainment, and the relatively large college educated population in New Orleans likely partially explains why incomes are higher than they are across the state as a whole.

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Maine: Portland-South Portland
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 41.5% (state: 31.5%)
> Median household income: $69,980 (state: $55,602)
> July unemployment: 2.4% (state: 3.0%)
> Number of college and universities: 16

Of the three metro areas in Maine, Portland is by far the best educated. Of all adults in the metro area, 41.5% have a bachelor’s degree or higher. By comparison, 28.0% of adults in the Bangor metro area have a college degree, and in Lewiston-Auburn just 19.5% of adults do. Across Maine, 31.5% of adults have a bachelor’s degree or higher, slightly less than the national share of 32.6% of adults.

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Maryland: Baltimore-Columbia-Towson
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 41.2% (state: 40.8%)
> Median household income: $80,469 (state: $83,242)
> July unemployment: 3.8% (state: 3.8%)
> Number of college and universities: 51

Maryland is one of the best educated states in the country, with bachelor’s degree attainment rate of 40.8% — well above the 32.6% national rate.

Of the five metro areas in the state, Baltimore-Columbia-Towson is by far the best educated. Some 41.2% of metro area adults have at least a bachelor’s degree. The area is also home to dozens of higher education institutions, including Johns Hopkins University and Loyola University – Maryland.

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