Special Report

The Most Educated City in Every State

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Colorado: Boulder
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 64.8% (state: 42.7%)
> Median household income: $88,535 (state: $77,127)
> Number of college and universities: 8

Boulder is the best educated metro area in both Colorado and the United States. Some 64.8% of metro area adults have a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared to 42.7% of adults in Colorado and 33.1% of adults nationwide.

College-educated adults tend to have far better access to good, stable jobs compared to those with only a high school diploma. The Boulder metropolitan area, with its high level of educational attainment, has relatively low unemployment. The area’s 6.4% unemployment rate is lower than the state and national unemployment rates of 7.4% and 10.2%, respectively. Like nearly everywhere nationwide, jobless rates in Boulder and Colorado are far higher than they were a year ago due in large part to the recession brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

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Connecticut: Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 49.1% (state: 39.8%)
> Median household income: $97,053 (state: $78,833)
> Number of college and universities: 19

Connecticut has one of the most highly educated populations 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 33.1% national share.

In the Bridgeport metro area, 49.1% of adults have at least a four-year degree, the largest share in the state and 10th largest of the nation’s 384 metropolitan areas. Incomes tend to rise with educational attainment, and in Bridgeport, the typical household earns $97,053 a year, the most of any Connecticut metro area and well above the median annual household income of $78,833 statewide.

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Delaware: Dover
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 24.5% (state: 33.2%)
> Median household income: $58,001 (state: $70,176)
> 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 33.1% and the statewide rate of 33.2%.

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 $58,001, which is about $7,500 below the national median.

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Florida: Gainesville
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 38.9% (state: 30.7%)
> Median household income: $47,762 (state: $59,227)
> 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 38.9% bachelor’s degree attainment rate — which is nearly 8 percentage points higher than 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 annual household income of $47,762 is considerably lower than the median income statewide of $59,227.

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Georgia: Athens-Clarke County
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 42.4% (state: 32.5%)
> Median household income: $50,962 (state: $61,980)
> 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, 42.4% of adults have at least a bachelor’s degree compared to just 32.5% of adults across the state as a whole.

As is often the case in the metro areas on this list, Athens residents appear to have access to a relatively healthy job market. Just 6.1% of area workers are unemployed, versus the state unemployment rate of 7.6% and the national rate of 10.2%.