This Is the Most (and Least) Educated City in America

You might be surprised to learn which city holds the most degrees.

America map draw on grunge blackboard with wooden frameAnson0618/Shutterstock

Education is one of the most important assets when it comes to your career, where you live, how much money you make, and a host of other opportunities. And though the number of Americans with college degrees is at a record high, there is often a huge gap in its accessibility based on geographical region. Throughout the country, some cities are highly educated, while others face a deficit in both educated citizens and educational prospects.

WalletHub reviewed data from the 150 highest-populated metropolitan areas in the country, focusing on two main research dimensions: educational attainment and quality of education and attainment gap. The former concerned the level of education adults in the regions had attained, while the latter included metrics about the quality of universities in the area, public school education, and racial, gender, and income-based educational attainment gaps. Scores were calculated based on the weighted average of these metrics, with educational attainment values making up 80 percent of score’s value. The results? Ann Arbor, Michigan, is the most educated city in America. Washington, D.C.; San Jose, California; Durham, North Carolina; and San Francisco, California, rounded out the top five.

Not only did Ann Arbor take the top spot overall, the city also had the highest percentages of adults with high school diplomas, with associate’s degrees, with bachelor’s degrees, and with graduate or professional degrees. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that it’s an area with lots of colleges and universities—the University of Michigan’s flagship campus is right in the heart of the city. But it’s not all perfect over in Ann Arbor—the city was also identified in the study as the area with the third-largest racial education gap in the country.

The least educated cities, in order, were Visalia, California; Brownsville, Texas; McAllen, Texas; Bakersfield, California; and Modesto, California. Visalia took the last spot in the attainment of both bachelor’s degrees and graduate degrees, while McAllen had the lowest percentage of high school diploma holders and associate’s degree holders. The study also showed that high education level was correlated with high income, while areas with low education level had a lower median income.

Check out the full report to see a map of the cities and all of the rankings, to see how your city stacks up. To see some more about how education differs across the country, find out the most selective college in every state.

Source: WalletHub