The 10 most educated U.S. cities

Educated populations make for excellent economies

24/7 Wall St. recently compiled a list of the most educated cities in each state—that is, the cities with the highest percent of adults who hold at least a bachelor's degree. 

The findings are the result of data from the Census Bureau's 2015 American Community Survey, along with post-secondary institutional data from the Department of Education and employment information from the Bureau of Labor Statistic's Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages.

The metro areas in the United States with the ten highest percentages of adults with bachelor's degrees are:

  1. Boulder, Colorado, 60.6%
  2. Ann Arbor, Michigan, 55.2%
  3. Corvallis, Oregon, 55.1%
  4. Ithaca, New York, 54.9%
  5. Ames, Iowa, 51.6%
  6. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, California, 48.7%
  7. Columbia, Missouri, 48.5%
  8. Lawrence, Kansas, 47%
  9. Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, Connecticut, 46.3%
  10. Boston-Cambridge-Newton, Massachusetts, 46%

Overall, the nationwide percentage of adults who have earned a bachelor's degree is 30.6%. But the rate varies widely across the United States—in Lake Havasu City-Kingman in Arizona, for instance, the percentage of adults with a bachelor's degree is only 11.9%.

The rate also varies widely within individual states. For example, in Oregon, the most educated city, is Corvallis, where 55.1% of residents hold a bachelor's degree. In another Oregon city, Grants Pass, only 14% of residents hold a bachelor's degree. 

In compiling the education data, 24/7 Wall St. also came across a number of general trends regarding the cities' economies and educated populations:

  • The majority of people graduating from schools in metro areas tend to remain in those areas for employment;
  • Populations in the most educated cities tend to report higher average incomes;
  • The most educated cities tend to be located within the most educated states; and
  • The presence of a university in a city positively affects that city's economy (Frolich/Stebbins, 24/7 Wall St., 10/11).

Related: 10 schools with excellent student outcomes


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