Last updated on December 19th, 2022 at 11:38 pm
With less than a million population, the District of Columbia is the highest percentage of educated graduates with at least first degree in the U.S, thanks to the government for making education a fundamental human right.
The District of Columbia is followed by Massachusetts, Colorado, Vermont, New Jersey as the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th respectively.
Surprisingly, none of the 10 most populated states made the list of most educated states in the U.S except New York at no. 10.
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What is the population of the US Compared to Number of Degree Holders?
The 2021 estimate put the population of the United States at 331.9 million, according to data on the U.S Census Bureau.
Out of that the 331.9 million people, over 30% of the American population aged 25 and above boast of a Bachelor’s degree, while an impressive 90% have a high school diploma.
This means that at least 99.5 million Americans out of 331,893,745 aged 25 and above have at least Bachelor’s Degree.
Which States Are the Most Educated in the US?
1) District of Columbia
- Number of colleges and universities: 20
- 2021 Population estimates: 670,050
- No. of Bachelor’s Degree holder aged 25 and above: 422,131
Washington, DC is regarded as the most educated in the United States despite its low small population.
According to USA FACTS, the state boasts of having the highest number of Americans with a bachelor’s degree or higher (63% of the residents have at least a Bachelor’s degree).
The state is pretty formidable when it comes to the offering of STEM majors, and there is a huge job market with constant opportunities created by global companies like Microsoft, Amazon, and so on.
Also worthy to note is that Washington, DC had witnessed the biggest growth in the rate of people getting their bachelor’s degrees between 2010 and 2021 (a 12%+ point increase).
- Number of colleges and universities: 114
- 2021 Population estimates: 6,984,723
- No. of Bachelor’s Degree holder aged 25 and above: 3,254,881
Massachusetts has 46.6% of its residents with a bachelor’s degree or higher. The government has been proactive when it comes to education.
When it comes to quality of education, Massachusetts has put in place reasonable frameworks to ensure its residents get nothing devoid of excellence.
The state is home to great institutions like MIT, Harvard, etc. The effects of the quality of education in Massachusetts are glaring by the manner its residents are empowered to perform in high-paying jobs.
- Number of colleges and universities: More than 100
- 2021 Population estimates: 5,812,069
- No. of Bachelor’s Degree holder aged 25 and above: 2,580,559
Colorado is the third most educate U.S states with 44.4% of the population who are 25 years+ have a Bachelor’s degree or higher.
- Number of colleges and universities: 22
- 2021 Population estimates: 645,570
- No. of Bachelor’s Degree holder aged 25 and above: 286,633
By population, the State of Vermont is the second smallest states, but using the percentage of Bachelor’s Degree holders, Vermont is the 4th US states with highest education level.
Between 2010 and 2021, Vermont saw an increase in the rate of people getting their bachelor’s degrees (a 10.8-percent point increase), according to data from USA Facts.
The University of Vermont is the largest higher education institute here, with a reasonable reputation in the country.
5) New Jersey
- Number of colleges and universities: 80
- 2021 Population estimates: 9,267,130
- No. of Bachelor’s Degree holder aged 25 and above: 3,994,133
New Jersey is also a very educated state in the United States of America. 43.1% of the population (25 years+) have a Bachelor’s degree or higher.
- Number of colleges and universities: 55
- 2021 Population estimates: 6,165,129
- No. of Bachelor’s Degree holder aged 25 and above: 2,620,180
Maryland also belongs to this top class. Some 42.5% percent of its residents have at least a Bachelor’s degree and the state itself ranked favorably well when it comes to Quality of Education.
- Number of colleges and universities: 44
- 2021 Population estimates: 3,605,597
- No. of Bachelor’s Degree holder aged 25 and above: 1,517,956
In Connecticut, 42.1% of the residents are Bachelor’s degree holders. The education sector trained workers for its flourishing sectors – including bioscience, digital media, financial services, etc.
- Number of colleges and universities: 129
- 2021 Population estimates: 8,642,274
- No. of Bachelor’s Degree holder aged 25 and above: 3,612,471
9) New Hampshire
- Number of colleges and universities: Over 20
- 2021 Population estimates: 1,388,992
- No. of Bachelor’s Degree holder aged 25 and above: 558,375
10) New York
- Number of colleges and universities: More than 130
- 2021 Population estimates: 19,835,913
- No. of Bachelor’s Degree holder aged 25 and above: 7,914,529
Among the most populated states, only New York (the 4th by population with lost of business opportunities) makes the top 10 list of most educated state.
Notably, New York is among US states with the highest number of colleges and universities.
The table below shows the ranking of the most educated states in the US:
|Ranking||State/Territory||% of Degree Holders||2021 Population|
|1||District of Columbia||63%||670,050|
|5||New Jersey||43.1%||9.267 million|
|9||New Hampshire||40.2%||1.389 million|
|10||New York||39.9%||8.468 million|
|15||Rhode Island||36.5%||1.096 million|
|22||North Carolina||34.9%||10.55 million|
|36||South Carolina||31.5%||5.191 million|
|41||New Mexico||30.1%||2.116 million|
|51||West Virginia||24.1%||1.783 million|
Top 10 Least Educated US States
On the flip side, West Virginia had the lowest number of residents with a bachelor’s degree despite having nice universities like the University of Virginia, James Madison University, and the rest.
Mississippi’s 2.95 million population also only managed 24.8% of Degree holder or higher, followed by Arkansas (25.3%).
In Louisiana, only 26.4% of its residents have a bachelor’s degree or higher despite having over 11 four-year colleges.
|State/Territory||% of degree holder aged 25 and above|
What is the percentage of Americans with less than higher school diploma?
The available data also shows that some states more people with less than high school diploma than the rest. They are:
Apart from being the most populated US state, California also has the highest number of its residents with less than high school diploma.
6,081,865 out of 39,237,836 of California residents have less than high school.
The second most populated state has at least 4.3 million of its population with less than high school diploma. The state’s 2021 population estimates was 29,527,941.
|Ranking||State/Territory||% of Less Than Higher School Diploma|
|14||District of Columbia||7.2%|
Finally, the rate of Americans that are adequately educated keeps soaring impressively.
Above all, the states with the highest Bachelor’s Degree holder aged 25 and above are District of Columbia, Massachusetts, Colorado, Vermont, and New Jersey.
And on other other hand, West Virginia, Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Kentucky belong to the list of states with the least percentage of college graduates.