Special Report

The Most Educated City in Every State

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Montana: Missoula
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 39.7% (state: 31.7%)
> Median household income: $56,598 (state: $55,328)
> July unemployment: 3.1% (state: 3.4%)
> Number of college and universities: 1

Some 39.7% of adults in Missoula have a bachelor’s degree, by far the largest share of the three metro areas in Montana. One factor contributing to the high college attainment rate in Missoula is the presence of the University of Montana, home to roughly 11,000 students.

Nearly one in five Missoula workers is employed in the health care and social assistance field, well above the national share of employment in the field. Many jobs in the health care and social assistance sector require a college degree.

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Nebraska: Lincoln
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 40.6% (state: 32.4%)
> Median household income: $58,506 (state: $59,566)
> July unemployment: 2.8% (state: 3.1%)
> Number of college and universities: 15

In Lincoln, 40.6% of adults have a bachelor’s degree or higher, well above the 32.4% of adults across Nebraska as a whole. Many of the metro areas on this list are college towns, and Lincoln — home to the University of Nebraska — is one of them. Lincoln is also Nebraska’s capital, and a college degree is often required for many government jobs.

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Nevada: Reno
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 31.3% (state: 24.9%)
> Median household income: $63,466 (state: $58,646)
> July unemployment: 3.2% (state: 4.1%)
> Number of college and universities: 10

Nevada has one of the lowest educational attainment rates in America, as less than a quarter of adults 25 and over have a bachelor’s degree. Reno is the only one of the three Nevada metro areas to have a bachelor’s degree attainment rate higher than the state. Places with higher college education attainment tend to generally have higher incomes. The typical household in Reno has an annual income of $63,466, which is the highest in the state and slightly above the national median of $61,937.

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New Hampshire: Manchester-Nashua
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 38.6% (state: 36.8%)
> Median household income: $78,978 (state: $74,991)
> July unemployment: 2.3% (state: 2.5%)
> Number of college and universities: 15

The state of New Hampshire has one of the highest educational attainment rates in the country, with 36.8% of adults having at least a bachelor’s degree. The Manchester-Nashua metro area, which is the only metro area in the state, has a slightly higher bachelor’s attainment rate than the state, at 38.6%.

Higher educational attainment and incomes are closely tied, and Manchester is one of the more affluent metro areas in the country, with a median annual household income of $78,978, which is even higher than the state’s relatively high $74,991 median and well above the national median of $61,937.

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New Jersey: Trenton
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 42.2% (state: 40.8%)
> Median household income: $80,632 (state: $81,740)
> July unemployment: 2.9% (state: 3.3%)
> Number of college and universities: 10

The Trenton metropolitan area, which is equivalent to Mercer County, is home to a number of colleges and universities, including famed Ivy League institution Princeton University. New Jersey is tied with Maryland as having the third highest state bachelor’s attainment rate, at 40.8%, but Trenton’s attainment rate is even higher, at 42.2%, which ranks in the top 30 among all U.S. metro areas.

As is often the case in metro areas with high educational attainment, Trenton is relatively affluent. The typical household has an annual income of $80,632, making Trenton one of just 19 metro areas with a median income in excess of $80,000.

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