The average cost of a college education in the United States is $35,720 a year — three times higher than it was two decades ago. While rising tuition costs are discouraging many Americans from enrolling, a college education is an investment that can broaden access to career opportunities, improve job security, and increase earning potential.
Nationwide, an estimated 32.1% of American adults 25 and older have a bachelor’s degree or higher. Educational attainment rates vary considerably across the country, however, and in every state, there is at least one city where the share of adults with a bachelor’s degree is higher than the national average.
Using education data from the U.S. Census Bureau, 24/7 Wall St. identified the most educated city in every state. It is important to note that Burlington is the only city in Vermont with sufficient data and ranks as the most educated city in the state by default only.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate among adults with a four-year college education was 5.5% in 2020. Meanwhile, the jobless rate among those with no more than a high school diploma was 9.0%. In all but eight cities on this list, the five-year average unemployment rate is lower than the comparable jobless rate across the state as a whole.
In addition to being better protected from unemployment, Americans with a bachelor’s degree also tend to have higher incomes. The average weekly wage for a college-educated worker in the United States is about 67% higher than it is for those with no more than a high school diploma — and in cities with well-educated populations, incomes also tend to be higher than average. In the vast majority of cities on this list, the typical household earns more in a year than the statewide median household income.