College enrollment has declined steadily in the United States in recent years. With rising tuition costs and surging student debt, enrollment has fallen by an average of nearly 2% a year since 2010. While four years of higher education may not be for everyone, Americans without a bachelor’s degree tend to be far more limited in their career opportunities, job security, and earning potential.
Nationwide, an estimated 33.1% of American adults 25 and older have a bachelor’s degree or higher. Educational attainment rates vary considerably across the country, however, and in nearly every state, there is at least one metro area where the share of adults with a bachelor’s degree is well below the national average.
In the Casper metro area, located in Wyoming, only 20.7% of the adult population have a bachelor’s degree, the smallest share of any metro area in the state. Meanwhile, across Wyoming, 29.1% of adults have a bachelor’s degree or higher.
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 places with lower educational attainment, incomes also tend to be lower than average. The Casper metro area, however, is an exception. The typical area household earns $65,034 per year, compared to the median household income across Wyoming of $65,003.
All data in this story are one-year estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey.
|Least educated metro area||Adults with a bachelor’s degree (%)||Adults with a bachelor’s degree, statewide (%)||Median household income ($)||Median household income, statewide ($)|
|Arizona: Lake Havasu City-Kingman||13.5||30.2||50,179||62,055|
|Arkansas: Pine Bluff||16.4||23.3||41,541||48,952|
|Connecticut: Norwich-New London||33.3||39.8||75,633||78,833|
|Florida: Sebring-Avon Park||16.7||30.7||48,698||59,227|
|Idaho: Twin Falls||20.0||28.7||56,667||60,999|
|Indiana: Michigan City-La Porte||18.0||26.9||56,019||57,603|
|Iowa: Sioux City||22.6||29.3||60,132||61,691|
|Kentucky: Elizabethtown-Fort Knox||21.4||25.1||55,246||52,295|
|Michigan: Battle Creek||20.2||30.0||49,055||59,584|
|Minnesota: St. Cloud||26.6||37.3||66,076||74,593|
|Missouri: St. Joseph||20.0||30.2||50,425||57,409|
|Montana: Great Falls||25.6||33.6||51,227||57,153|
|Nebraska: Grand Island||21.0||33.2||55,907||63,229|
|Nevada: Carson City||21.3||25.7||57,270||63,276|
|New Hampshire: Manchester-Nashua||37.8||37.6||83,626||77,933|
|New Jersey: Vineland-Bridgeton||16.1||41.2||54,587||85,751|
|New Mexico: Farmington||14.4||27.7||44,321||51,945|
|New York: Watertown-Fort Drum||22.4||37.8||53,917||72,108|
|North Carolina: Rocky Mount||17.4||32.3||46,466||57,341|
|North Dakota: Bismarck||33.4||30.4||70,979||64,577|
|Oregon: Grants Pass||16.8||34.5||47,573||67,058|
|Rhode Island: Providence-Warwick||33.2||34.8||70,967||71,169|
|South Carolina: Sumter||20.1||29.6||49,263||56,227|
|South Dakota: Rapid City||30.8||29.7||58,361||59,533|
|Utah: St. George||27.3||34.8||63,595||75,780|
|Vermont: Burlington-South Burlington||44.6||38.7||74,909||63,001|
|West Virginia: Weirton-Steubenville||17.5||21.1||49,510||48,850|