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District of Columbia
59.8%
Massachusetts
44.5%
Colorado
41.6%
Maryland
40.9%
New Jersey
40.7%
Connecticut
40%
Vermont
39.7%
Virginia
39.5%
New Hampshire
37.6%
New York
37.5%
Minnesota
36.8%
Washington
36.7%
Illinois
35.5%
Rhode Island
35%
California
34.7%
Utah
34.7%
Oregon
34.4%
Kansas
33.9%
Hawaii
33.6%
Montana
33.1%
Delaware
32.7%
Maine
32.5%
Nebraska
32.5%
Pennsylvania
32.3%
Georgia
32.2%
North Carolina
32%
Wisconsin
30.8%
North Dakota
30.7%
Texas
30.7%
Florida
30.5%
Arizona
30.3%
Alaska
30%
Michigan
30%
Missouri
29.9%
Iowa
29.3%
South Dakota
29.3%
South Carolina
29%
Ohio
28.9%
Idaho
28.7%
Tennessee
28.2%
Wyoming
28.2%
New Mexico
28.1%
Indiana
27.2%
Alabama
26.2%
Oklahoma
26.1%
Nevada
25.5%
Kentucky
25%
Louisiana
24.9%
Arkansas
23.8%
Mississippi
22.8%
West Virginia
21.3%

Most Educated States 2024

Most Educated States 2024

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 U.S. 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 starting between five and eight up until between ages 16 and 18. 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 with 100 being the "most educated." Metrics were split into two categories: Educational Attainment and Quality of Education. 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 public school systems, 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 to rank the states.

Most Educated U.S. States

State
Total BS Degree Or Higher
District of Columbia59.8%
Massachusetts44.5%
Colorado41.6%
Maryland40.9%
New Jersey40.7%
Connecticut40%
Vermont39.7%
Virginia39.5%
New Hampshire37.6%
New York37.5%

1. Massachusetts

Massachusetts is the most educated state in the U.S., with a total score of 81.82. Massachusetts ranks first for Educational Attainment and third for Quality of Education. Home to MIT, Harvard, and other top institutions, Massachusetts has the highest percentage of bachelor's degree holders at 43.7% of adults and graduate or professional degree holders at about 32.4%. Massachusetts also has the highest average university quality. Massachusetts residents' high education levels allow them to perform in high-paying jobs, resulting in having one of the highest median household incomes in the country.

2. Maryland

Maryland is the second-most educated state in the country. Maryland ranks third for Educational Attainment, with 40.2%% of residents having at least a bachelor's degree and 17.6% having a graduate or professional degree, the second-highest percentage in the country. Maryland also ranks first for the Quality of Education. Thanks to the state's high education levels, Maryland residents can attain the high-paying jobs available in the District of Columbia.

3. Connecticut

Connecticut is the third-most educated state with a score of 72.68. Connecticut ranks fourth for Educational Attainment and fifth for Quality of Education rank. Connecticut ranks fifth for the highest percentage of bachelor's degree holders at 38.9% and third for the highest percentage of graduate or professional degree holders at 17.0%. Some of the most popular industries in Connecticut are digital media, bioscience, financial services, and insurance.

4. Colorado

The fourth-most educated state in the U.S. is Colorado. Colorado's Educational Attainment rank is second, with the highest percentage of associate's degree holders or college-experienced adults and the second-highest percentage of bachelor's degree holders. 39.4% of Colorado adults have at least a bachelor's degree and 30.2% have an associate's degree or some college experience. Unfortunately, Colorado lacks a little in Quality of Education, ranking 32nd overall and having the third-lowest average university quality.

5. Vermont

Vermont is the fifth-most educated state in the United States. Vermont ranks fifth for Educational Attainment and ninth for Quality of Education. Vermont has the eighth-highest percentage of high school diploma holders at 93.07% and the seventh-highest bachelor's degree holders at 38.00%. The University of Vermont is the state's largest higher education institute, and the university's medical center is the state's top employer.

6. New Jersey

New Jersey is the sixth-most educated state in the U.S. New Jersey ranks tenth for Educational Attainment and fourth for Quality of Education. New Jersey has the fourth-highest percentage of adults with a bachelor's degree at 38.9%. Some of New Jersey's largest industries include information and technology (home to over 5,000 information and technology companies), pharmaceuticals, and biotech. New Jersey is home to great universities, such as Princeton University, Rutgers University, and The College of New Jersey.

7. Virginia

The seventh-most educated state in the U.S. is Virginia, which ranks seventh for Educational Attainment and seventh for Quality of Education. Virginia has the fourth-highest percentage of graduate or professional degree holders in the country at 16.1%. Some of the best universities in Virginia are the University of Virginia, James Madison University, the College of William & Mary, and Virginia Tech.

8. New Hampshire

New Hampshire is the eighth-most educated state in the country and ranks sixth for Educational Attainment, having the second-highest percentage of high school diploma holders. New Hampshire has one of the best high-tech industries in the country, as well as large biotech and medical research industries. New Hampshire has consistently had one of the lowest unemployment rates among all states, sitting at 2.3% in December 2019 and 3.8% in December 2020.

9. Minnesota

Minnesota ranks ninth on the most educated list. Minnesota ranks eighth for Educational Attainment with the third-highest percentage of high school diploma holders at 93.61%. Minnesota is home to Fortune 500 companies such as 3M, General Mills, Target, and United Health Group, as well as The Mayo Clinic, one of the state's largest employers.

10. Washington

Washington finishes the top ten most educated U.S. states. Washington ranks ninth for Educational Attainment. Washington has the third-highest percentage of associate’s degree holders or college-experienced adults. Washington has a lot to offer for STEM majors with a large job market that includes companies like Microsoft and Amazon.

Most Educated States 2024

Notes:
- All values have been rounded to the nearest tenth of a percent.
- The percentage of students who enter college but leave before obtaining a degree is not shown. However, it can be roughly calculated by adding the percentages of all columns other than "BS or Higher" and subtracting from 100%.

Download Table Data

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State
Total BS Degree Or Higher
Associates Degree
Bachelors Degree
Graduate Or Professional Degree
HS Grad or Equivalent
Less Than High School Graduate
District of Columbia59.8%2.9%25.3%34.5%16.6%8.1%
Massachusetts44.5%7.7%24.5%20%23.5%8.9%
Colorado41.6%8.5%26%15.6%21.2%7.9%
Maryland40.9%6.8%21.8%19.1%24.2%9.5%
New Jersey40.7%6.6%24.8%15.9%26.7%9.8%
Connecticut40%7.8%22.2%17.9%26.3%9.1%
Vermont39.7%8.8%23.5%16.1%28.3%6.5%
Virginia39.5%7.9%22.4%17.2%23.9%9.7%
New Hampshire37.6%10.4%23%14.5%27.3%6.7%
New York37.5%8.9%20.9%16.5%25.5%12.8%
Minnesota36.8%11.6%24.2%12.6%24.2%6.7%
Washington36.7%10.1%22.8%13.9%21.8%8.3%
Illinois35.5%8.1%21.6%13.9%25.6%10.3%
Rhode Island35%8.2%21%14%28%10.8%
California34.7%8%21.6%13.1%20.4%16.1%
Utah34.7%10%23%11.7%22.8%7%
Oregon34.4%9%21.3%13.1%22.7%8.8%
Kansas33.9%8.8%21.5%12.5%25.8%8.7%
Hawaii33.6%10.9%21.9%11.6%27.3%7.6%
Montana33.1%9.4%22.2%10.9%28.1%6%
Delaware32.7%8%19%13.7%31%9.4%
Maine32.5%10.2%20.3%12.2%31.3%6.8%
Nebraska32.5%10.7%21.4%11.1%25.7%8.4%
Pennsylvania32.3%8.6%19.5%12.8%34.2%9%
Georgia32.2%8%19.7%12.5%27.5%12.2%
North Carolina32%9.9%20.4%11.6%25.5%11.5%
Wisconsin30.8%11%20.3%10.5%30.3%7.4%
North Dakota30.7%14.1%22.1%8.6%26.1%6.9%
Texas30.7%7.4%19.9%10.8%24.7%15.6%
Florida30.5%10%19.3%11.3%28.2%11.5%
Arizona30.3%8.9%18.8%11.5%23.8%12.1%
Alaska30%8.7%18.7%11.3%28.4%6.9%
Michigan30%9.6%18.3%11.7%28.5%8.7%
Missouri29.9%8.1%18.4%11.5%30.5%9.4%
Iowa29.3%11.8%19.7%9.6%30.8%7.5%
South Dakota29.3%11.6%20.1%9.2%30.2%7.8%
South Carolina29%9.9%18.2%10.8%28.9%11.7%
Ohio28.9%8.8%17.9%10.9%32.8%9.2%
Idaho28.7%9.8%19.3%9.4%26.7%8.7%
Tennessee28.2%7.5%17.8%10.4%31.8%11.8%
Wyoming28.2%11.4%17.7%10.5%28.6%6.4%
New Mexico28.1%8.8%15.8%12.3%26.2%13.5%
Indiana27.2%8.9%17.3%9.9%33.2%10.7%
Alabama26.2%8.7%16.3%9.9%30.3%13.1%
Oklahoma26.1%8.2%17.2%9%31.1%11.5%
Nevada25.5%8.4%16.6%8.8%27.9%13%
Kentucky25%8.6%14.8%10.3%32.6%12.8%
Louisiana24.9%6.5%15.9%8.9%33.3%14.2%
Arkansas23.8%7.5%15.2%8.6%33.9%12.8%
Mississippi22.8%10.2%13.8%8.9%30.1%14.7%
West Virginia21.3%7.6%12.7%8.6%40%12.4%
showing: 51 rows

Most Educated States 2024

Sources