Earning a college degree is one of the best ways to open up opportunities, especially to higher-paying jobs. The economic benefits of a well-educated population are also far-reaching.
Based on recently released educational attainment data from the U.S. Census Bureau, 24/7 Wall St. analyzed the level of higher education in every metro area in each state. The nation’s most educated metro area is Boulder, Colorado, where 60.6% of adults have at least a bachelor’s degree. The least educated metro is Lake Havasu City-Kingman, Arizona, where just 11.9% of adults are college educated.
The difference in college attainment rates between a state’s most and least educated metro areas can be greater than 40 percentage points. This is the case in Oregon, where 55.1% of adults in Corvallis have a college degree, while just 14.0% of adults in Grants Pass have at least a bachelor’s degree.
While higher education levels can vary considerably, the cities with the highest college attainment rates tend to be in states with relatively high education levels overall. Bachelor’s degree recipients comprised at least 40% of the adult population in the most educated city in seven of the 10 most educated states in the country.
> Most educated city: Baltimore-Columbia-Towson
> Pct. with bachelor’s degree: 38.6%
> Number of postsecondary institutions: 50
> Median household income: $72,520
While the percentage of adults in the Baltimore metro area who have at least a bachelor’s degree of 38.6% is the highest of any metro area in the state, it is slightly lower than the corresponding statewide attainment rate of 38.8%. Except for states with only a single metro area, Maryland is the only state where this is the case. The proximity of Washington D.C., where many of the most highly educated Maryland residents are employed, likely skews Maryland’s overall educational attainment higher.