Best States For Education 2020

Whether you’re a soon-to-be college student trying to figure out your next move after high school graduation or you have children in your household, there’s one thing that both have in common: the desire to find the best schools.

A great school system is a selling point for homes on the market, and college students are willing to pay extra money to attend out-of-state schools. These examples are just two that show how important education is to many people.

While there are great schools in every state in the U.S., some states have exceptional school districts and institutions of higher learning that stand out above the rest.

There isn’t just one set list of the best schools, however. Many publications and think tanks have created their own lists of the best schools for education based on a number of factors.

One such list was created by U.S. News & World Report. The 2018 Education Rankings is based 50% on higher education factors such as graduation rates and tuition costs. The remaining 50% is based on Pre-K through 12, using factors such as test scores and high school graduation rates.

Based on this list, Massachusetts came in first place. Coming in right behind was New Jersey, followed by Utah taking the third slot. The top 10 states for the best education based on this report were:

  • Massachusetts
  • New Jersey
  • Utah
  • New Hampshire
  • Iowa
  • Washington
  • Florida
  • Vermont
  • Nebraska
  • North Dakota

Education Week’s Quality Counts report of 2018 is another report that ranks the best states in the nation. Massachusetts and New Jersey also topped this list. However, Vermont took third place. Based on this report, the top states for education were:

  • Massachusetts
  • New Jersey
  • Vermont
  • New Hampshire
  • Connecticut
  • Maryland
  • Wyoming
  • Pennsylvania
  • New York
  • Minnesota

This report took a look at high school graduation rates, public school spending, the number of adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher, and adults with incomes that are above national levels.

Yet another report was compiled by WalletHub. This report focused more on the K-12 public school systems.

Topping this list was, again, Massachusetts. This was followed by New Jersey in second place and Connecticut in third. The top 10 states for education based on this list were:

  • Massachusetts
  • New Jersey
  • Connecticut
  • New Hampshire
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • Minnesota
  • Maryland
  • Wisconsin
  • Colorado

As you can see, there are many states that appear on all three lists. However, the different criteria considered has changed the order or added states that weren’t on another list.

When selecting a state with the best schools, it’s best to figure out what’s most important for your situation and look at data surrounding that. For example, if your focus is on K-12 public schools, look at research and data focused on these schools. If you’re trying to figure out where to go to college, consider data and information surrounding factors such as tuition costs and graduation rates.

Best States For Education 2020

State Overall Rank Higher Education Rank (Pre)K-12 Rank 2020 Pop.
Massachusetts12716,976,600
New Jersey23028,936,570
Florida312721,993,000
Washington42197,797,100
New Hampshire53731,371,250
Nebraska6791,952,570
Virginia71488,626,210
Vermont8414628,061
Iowa98133,179,850
Utah106223,282,120
Colorado119145,845,530
Connecticut124453,563,080
Maryland1317116,083,120
Wisconsin1411165,851,750
Kansas1513152,910,360
Wyoming16334567,025
Minnesota1720125,700,670
South Dakota181023903,027
Illinois1931712,659,700
North Dakota20535761,723
California2143739,937,500
New York22152519,440,500
Delaware231624982,895
Indiana243966,745,350
North Carolina25122810,611,900
Montana2619201,086,760
Missouri2726216,169,270
Maine2834171,345,790
Hawaii2921301,412,690
Georgia30253110,736,100
Ohio31381811,747,700
Pennsylvania32501012,820,900
Idaho3335261,826,160
Texas34323329,472,300
Tennessee3523386,897,580
Oregon3622394,301,090
Michigan37422910,045,000
Kentucky3843324,499,690
Oklahoma3928433,954,820
Arizona4024447,378,490
Rhode Island4148361,056,160
Arkansas4240403,039,000
South Carolina4346415,210,100
West Virginia4445421,778,070
Nevada4518483,139,660
Mississippi4633452,989,260
Alaska473647734,002
Louisiana4849464,645,180
New Mexico4929502,096,640
Alabama5047494,908,620