Special Report

The Most Educated City in Every State

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Kansas: Lawrence
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 47.1% (state: 34.0%)
> Median household income: $64,233 (state: $62,087)
> 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’s bachelor degree attainment rate of 47.1% is the 16th highest of the nation’s 384 metropolitan areas.

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. Nationwide, 88.6% of adults have at least a high school diploma.

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Kentucky: Lexington-Fayette
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 38.3% (state: 25.1%)
> Median household income: $60,492 (state: $52,295)
> Number of college and universities: 17

Kentucky’s bachelor’s degree attainment rate of 25.1% 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, 38.3% of adults have a four-year college degree, by far the highest of any metro area in the state. Nationwide, 33.1% share of adults have a bachelor’s degree.

Comparing the difference in college attainment rates between states and their most educated metro areas, the 13.2 percentage point difference between Kentucky’s college attainment rate and Lexington-Fayette’s is one of the largest.

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Louisiana: New Orleans-Metairie
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 32.3% (state: 25.0%)
> Median household income: $55,710 (state: $51,073)
> Number of college and universities: 32

New Orleans is the only Louisiana metro area 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 institutions in the city. There are 32 colleges and universities in New Orleans and the surrounding area.

Incomes tend to rise with educational attainment, and the relatively large college-educated population in New Orleans likely partially explains the relatively higher incomes in the area when compared to the state as a whole.

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Maine: Portland-South Portland
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 42.3% (state: 33.2%)
> Median household income: $71,913 (state: $58,924)
> 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, 42.3% have a bachelor’s degree or higher. By comparison, 29.4% of adults in the Bangor metro area have a college degree, and in Lewiston-Auburn just 25.1% of adults do. Across Maine, 33.2% of adults have a bachelor’s degree or higher, in line with the 33.1% national share.

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Maryland: Baltimore-Columbia-Towson
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 41.9% (state: 40.9%)
> Median household income: $83,160 (state: $86,738)
> Number of college and universities: 51

Maryland is one of the best educated states in the country, with a bachelor’s degree attainment rate of 40.9% — well above the 33.1% national rate. Of the five metro areas in the state, Baltimore-Columbia-Towson is by far the best educated. Some 41.9% of metro area adults have at least a bachelor’s degree. The area is home to dozens of higher education institutions, including Johns Hopkins University and Loyola University – Maryland.