Most Educated States 2019

Education is a strong force in the development of nations and is seen as a vital human right. According to the Global Partnership for Education, education boosts economic growth, ends poverty, promotes gender equality, and promotes peace. Additionally, education is essential for achieving the 17 Global Goals, which are set out to achieve sustainable development, end extreme poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and protect our planet by 2030.

Education is the best way for people to decrease their chances of unemployment, increase their earning potential, and meet their career goals.

In the United States, 90% of the population over the age of 25 have a high school diploma and 34% have a Bachelor’s degree. The national education budget in 2016-2017 was $1.3 trillion, the majority of which came from state and local governments. The US spends more on education than any other country in the world. Education in the United States includes public schools, private schools, and approved homeschooling.

State governments set education standards. Depending on the state, education is compulsory over an age range starting between five and eight up until between ages sixteen and eighteen. Additionally, states typically mandate standardized tests for K-12 public school systems.

Education varies between all 50 states in both educational attainment and quality of education. WalletHub compared these two dimensions using 20 different metrics that were given a score of 0 to 100, 100 being the “most educated.” These metrics include the share of adults over 25 years old with a high school diploma/some college/at least a Bachelor’s degree/etc., quality of school system, public high school graduation rate, enrolled students in top universities, public college graduation rate, and more. Each state’s weighted average across all metrics was then determined in order to rank the states.

Based on this data, the top ten most educated states are:

  1. Massachusetts
  2. Maryland
  3. Vermont
  4. Connecticut
  5. Colorado
  6. Virginia
  7. New Hampshire
  8. Minnesota
  9. Utah
  10. Washington

Massachusetts is the most educated state in the US with a total score of 80.0. Massachusetts ranks first for both educational attainment and quality of education. Home to MIT, Harvard, and other top institutions, Massachusetts has the highest percentage of Bachelor’s degree holders and graduate or professional degree holders and has the highest average university quality.

Below is a table of each state’s total education score, overall education ranking, and ranking for educational attainment and education quality.

State Education Rank Education Score Education Attainment Rank Education Quality Rank 2019 Pop.
Massachusetts180.06116,939,373
Maryland273.21346,062,917
Vermont370.0765627,180
Connecticut468.224173,567,871
Colorado567.972315,770,545
Virginia666.98798,571,946
New Hampshire766.325201,363,852
Minnesota865.578115,655,925
Utah964.531163,221,610
Washington1063.779167,666,343
New Jersey1162.9310108,922,547
New York1256.73181219,491,339
Oregon1355.7112374,245,901
Hawaii1455.6513281,416,589
Illinois1555.62172112,700,381
Delaware1655.4237975,033
Maine1754.9120151,342,097
Montana1853.3714411,074,532
Kansas1953.3115382,910,931
Wisconsin2053.2324145,832,661
Rhode Island2152.9525131,056,738
Nebraska2252.0819331,940,919
North Dakota2352.022223760,900
Wyoming2451.252129572,381
California2550.0337239,747,267
Iowa2649.6927183,167,997
Alaska2749.191649735,720
Florida2848.8636321,646,155
Pennsylvania2948.74282212,813,969
Michigan3048.66263510,020,472
North Carolina3146.03322610,497,741
Ohio3245.08342511,718,568
Georgia3344.96352410,627,767
Missouri3444.531366,147,861
South Dakota3544.122943892,631
Arizona3642.6133407,275,070
Indiana3741.824086,718,616
Idaho3841.6630471,790,182
Texas3937.12431929,087,070
New Mexico4036.3238452,096,034
Tennessee4135.8542326,833,793
South Carolina4234.7739465,147,111
Oklahoma4334.4341393,948,950
Nevada4433.3144343,087,025
Kentucky4532.1546274,484,047
Alabama4630.2345444,898,246
Arkansas4727.947303,026,412
Louisiana4822.5748484,652,581
West Virginia4921.0250421,791,951
Mississippi5019.3249502,987,895