Special Report

The Most and Least Educated States

The percentage of American adults with a four-year college degree has continued to increase in recent years, growing from less than 10% in much of the 1960s to 33.1% in 2019. Americans with college degrees not only tend to earn higher incomes than those without, but they also typically have longer and healthier lives.

Though the bachelor’s degree attainment rate is increasing nationwide, there is still a large variation in the share of college-educated adults in parts of the country. In a handful of states, over 40% of all adults 25 and older have graduated from college. In others, fewer than one-quarter hold at least a bachelor’s degree.

To determine America’s most and least educated states, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed one-year estimates of the percentage of adults 25 years and over with at least a bachelor’s degree from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey.

States with the highest educational attainment rates tend to be in the Northeast. Meanwhile, the states that are home to the smallest share of college-educated adults are disproportionately concentrated in the South.

Click here to see the most and least educated states.
Click here to read our detailed methodology.