U.S. Markets open in 6 hrs 33 mins
  • S&P Futures

    4,405.25
    -9.00 (-0.20%)
     
  • Dow Futures

    34,952.00
    -82.00 (-0.23%)
     
  • Nasdaq Futures

    15,096.50
    -21.25 (-0.14%)
     
  • Russell 2000 Futures

    2,202.80
    -10.60 (-0.48%)
     
  • Crude Oil

    71.98
    +0.07 (+0.10%)
     
  • Gold

    1,793.60
    -5.60 (-0.31%)
     
  • Silver

    25.26
    -0.06 (-0.23%)
     
  • EUR/USD

    1.1794
    -0.0014 (-0.1179%)
     
  • 10-Yr Bond

    1.2760
    0.0000 (0.00%)
     
  • Vix

    17.58
    +0.38 (+2.21%)
     
  • GBP/USD

    1.3819
    -0.0005 (-0.0346%)
     
  • USD/JPY

    110.1600
    -0.2150 (-0.1948%)
     
  • BTC-USD

    37,005.27
    -1,597.58 (-4.14%)
     
  • CMC Crypto 200

    876.41
    -39.07 (-4.27%)
     
  • FTSE 100

    7,025.43
    -2.15 (-0.03%)
     
  • Nikkei 225

    27,970.22
    +136.93 (+0.49%)
     

Most and Least Educated Cities in America

·13 min read
skynesher / Getty Images
skynesher / Getty Images

Education level can play an important role in the quality of life in your area. A larger percentage of people who have a degree or have attended a training program translates to a better workforce and a more vibrant local economy. What’s more, it can also be a sign that the public education system in the area is working well.

Watch Out: 20 Jobs That Aren’t Worth Their Education Requirements

GOBankingRates conducted a study to identify the most and least educated cities in America. The study determined what percentage of each age demographic had a degree and then used those numbers to determine which 25 American cities are among the best and worst educated. So, see if your city is among those that really understand how important education is.

Last updated: March 3, 2021

Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA skyline at twilight.
Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA skyline at twilight.

Most Educated Cities

To identify the most educated cities, GOBankingRates took a number of metrics available through the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey — namely percentages of the local population ages 18-24 and 25 and older with less than a high school degree, a high school degree or its equivalent, some college or an associate degree, and a bachelor’s degree or higher.

Please note that each slide only contains data points for the 25 and older demographic. It allows for a clearer comparison of the numbers as they’re all from the same age group, and it accounts for the fact that many people will not have necessarily completed their education before their mid-20s.

Related: 30 Best Jobs If You Want To Retire Early

Charleston, South Carolina
Charleston, South Carolina

25. Charleston, South Carolina

  • 25 and older with a high school diploma: 17.6%

  • 25 and older with some college or an associate degree: 25.1%

  • 25 and older with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 52.1%

Read: Here’s How Much Economists Say One Good Public School Teacher Is Worth

October 29, 2018 Sunnyvale / CA / USA - Urban landscape with newly developed residential buildings in downtown Sunnyvale, south San Francisco bay area, California;.
October 29, 2018 Sunnyvale / CA / USA - Urban landscape with newly developed residential buildings in downtown Sunnyvale, south San Francisco bay area, California;.

24. Sunnyvale, California

  • 25 and older with a high school diploma: 10.8%

  • 25 and older with some college or an associate degree: 17.8%

  • 25 and older with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 63.7%

Time for a Job Change? Companies That Let You Work From Anywhere

Sun rising illuminates the Jefferson Memorial and Tidal Basin.
Sun rising illuminates the Jefferson Memorial and Tidal Basin.

23. Washington, D.C.

  • 25 and older with a high school diploma: 17.2%

  • 25 and older with some college or an associate degree: 15.9%

  • 25 and older with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 57.6%

Center of Boise Idaho as seen from above at night.
Center of Boise Idaho as seen from above at night.

22. Boise, Idaho

  • 25 and older with a high school diploma: 21.4%

  • 25 and older with some college or an associate degree: 32.5%

  • 25 and older with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 41.1%

Aerial panorama of Stamford, Connecticut - Image.
Aerial panorama of Stamford, Connecticut - Image.

21. Stamford, Connecticut

  • 25 and older with a high school diploma: 12.5%

  • 25 and older with some college or an associate degree: 20.8%

  • 25 and older with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 62.2%

Columbia Maryland
Columbia Maryland

20. Columbia, Maryland

  • 25 and older with a high school diploma: 12.5%

  • 25 and older with some college or an associate degree: 20.8%

  • 25 and older with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 62.2%

Stores around the Public Square in historic downtown Murfreesboro TN, USA.
Stores around the Public Square in historic downtown Murfreesboro TN, USA.

19. Murfreesboro, Tennessee

  • 25 and older with a high school diploma: 20.3%

  • 25 and older with some college or an associate degree: 19.1%

  • 25 and older with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 49.7%

Bellevue, Washington aerial skyline
Bellevue, Washington aerial skyline

18. Bellevue, Washington

  • 25 and older with a high school diploma: 9.2%

  • 25 and older with some college or an associate degree: 18.7%

  • 25 and older with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 67.6%

Don’t Miss: 30 Highest-Paying Entry-Level Jobs

Clarksville is a city in and the county seat of Montgomery County, Tennessee.
Clarksville is a city in and the county seat of Montgomery County, Tennessee.

17. Clarksville, Tennessee

  • 25 and older with a high school diploma: 28.0%

  • 25 and older with some college or an associate degree: 38.1%

  • 25 and older with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 26.5%

Aerial view of a residential neighborhood on a sunny day, Fremont, east San Francisco bay area, California.
Aerial view of a residential neighborhood on a sunny day, Fremont, east San Francisco bay area, California.

16. Fremont, California

  • 25 and older with a high school diploma: 17.1%

  • 25 and older with some college or an associate degree: 20.2%

  • 25 and older with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 56.1%

Image of Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California during sunrise.
Image of Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California during sunrise.

15. San Francisco

  • 25 and older with a high school diploma: 12.3%

  • 25 and older with some college or an associate degree: 19.1%

  • 25 and older with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 57.1%

Overland Park Kansas Clock Tower.
Overland Park Kansas Clock Tower.

14. Overland Park, Kansas

  • 25 and older with a high school diploma: 12.2%

  • 25 and older with some college or an associate degree: 24.2%

  • 25 and older with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 60.5%

Before You Go: The Most Expensive College in Every State

Aerial view of Boulder, Colorado.
Aerial view of Boulder, Colorado.

13. Boulder, Colorado

  • 25 and older with a high school diploma: 6.7%

  • 25 and older with some college or an associate degree: 15.9%

  • 25 and older with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 73.9%

SANDY SPRINGS, GA - Dec.
SANDY SPRINGS, GA - Dec.

12. Sandy Springs, Georgia

  • 25 and older with a high school diploma: 13.1%

  • 25 and older with some college or an associate degree: 18.1%

  • 25 and older with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 63.3%

House boats on Lake Union in Seattle, WA with Aurora Bridge overhead.
House boats on Lake Union in Seattle, WA with Aurora Bridge overhead.

11. Seattle

  • 25 and older with a high school diploma: 9.8%

  • 25 and older with some college or an associate degree: 22.0%

  • 25 and older with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 62.8%

May 11, 2018 Santa Clara / CA / USA - Sunset view of the street and surrounding buildings near Levi's Stadium in south San Francisco bay area - Image.
May 11, 2018 Santa Clara / CA / USA - Sunset view of the street and surrounding buildings near Levi's Stadium in south San Francisco bay area - Image.

10. Santa Clara, California

  • 25 and older with a high school diploma: 13.2%

  • 25 and older with some college or an associate degree: 20.6%

  • 25 and older with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 58.5%

Naperville, Illinois, USA - June 9, 2017: Daytime view of the downtown district in fifth-largest city in Illinois located outside Chicago.
Naperville, Illinois, USA - June 9, 2017: Daytime view of the downtown district in fifth-largest city in Illinois located outside Chicago.

9. Naperville, Illinois

  • 25 and older with a high school diploma: 10.1%

  • 25 and older with some college or an associate degree: 19.1%

  • 25 and older with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 67.8%

Irvine California business district
Irvine California business district

8. Irvine, California

  • 25 and older with a high school diploma: 8.0%

  • 25 and older with some college or an associate degree: 19.8%

  • 25 and older with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 68.6%

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States - July 31, 2016: Pedestrians crossing the Roberto Clemente Bridge on a beautiful summer day.
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States - July 31, 2016: Pedestrians crossing the Roberto Clemente Bridge on a beautiful summer day.

7. Pittsburgh

  • 25 and older with a high school diploma: 26.2%

  • 25 and older with some college or an associate degree: 23.3%

  • 25 and older with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 43.0%

Fort Collins Colorado downtown
Fort Collins Colorado downtown

6. Fort Collins, Colorado

  • 25 and older with a high school diploma: 14.9%

  • 25 and older with some college or an associate degree: 27.1%

  • 25 and older with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 54.5%

Things To Consider: Are These Pricey School Alternatives Worth It?

Madison Wisconsin
Madison Wisconsin

5. Madison, Wisconsin

  • 25 and older with a high school diploma: 14.0%

  • 25 and older with some college or an associate degree: 23.4%

  • 25 and older with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 57.9%

LIberty Street in Ann Arbor Michigan
LIberty Street in Ann Arbor Michigan

4. Ann Arbor, Michigan

  • 25 and older with a high school diploma: 7.3%

  • 25 and older with some college or an associate degree: 14.2%

  • 25 and older with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 75.5%

University of California Berkeley
University of California Berkeley

3. Berkeley, California

  • 25 and older with a high school diploma: 6.7%

  • 25 and older with some college or an associate degree: 16.7%

  • 25 and older with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 73.0%

Cambridge, Massachusetts skyline in the spring.
Cambridge, Massachusetts skyline in the spring.

2. Cambridge, Massachusetts

  • 25 and older with a high school diploma: 8.7%

  • 25 and older with some college or an associate degree: 9.0%

  • 25 and older with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 77.4%

kayakers in Potomac River in Arlington Virginia
kayakers in Potomac River in Arlington Virginia

1. Arlington, Virginia

  • 25 and older with a high school diploma: 8.1%

  • 25 and older with some college or an associate degree: 11.4%

  • 25 and older with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 74.6%

Hartford Connecticut
Hartford Connecticut

Least Educated Cities

The methodology for the least educated cities is just the inverse of that for the most educated, using the same data set and methodology but focusing on the lowest-scoring cities.

The Hialeah Entry Fountain in Hialeah, Florida, USA on March 17, 2018.
The Hialeah Entry Fountain in Hialeah, Florida, USA on March 17, 2018.

25. Hialeah, Florida

  • 25 and older with a high school diploma: 35.2%

  • 25 and older with some college or an associate degree: 20.9%

  • 25 and older with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 14.6%

Elizabeth is both the largest city and the county seat of Union County, in New Jersey, United States.
Elizabeth is both the largest city and the county seat of Union County, in New Jersey, United States.

24. Elizabeth, New Jersey

  • 25 and older with a high school diploma: 38.2%

  • 25 and older with some college or an associate degree: 22.5%

  • 25 and older with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 13.2%

Escondido California
Escondido California

23. Escondido, California

  • 25 and older with a high school diploma: 22.7%

  • 25 and older with some college or an associate degree: 31.8%

  • 25 and older with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 23.6%

Options: Most Affordable Private Colleges in Every State

Fresno downtown skyline view with a clear blue sky in the background.
Fresno downtown skyline view with a clear blue sky in the background.

22. Fresno, California

  • 25 and older with a high school diploma: 22.6%

  • 25 and older with some college or an associate degree: 32.5%

  • 25 and older with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 21.6%

Wigwam Village, Rialto, California.
Wigwam Village, Rialto, California.

21. Rialto, California

  • 25 and older with a high school diploma: 30.7%

  • 25 and older with some college or an associate degree: 27.9%

  • 25 and older with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 10.7%

Pompano Beach Florida
Pompano Beach Florida

20. Pompano Beach, Florida

  • 25 and older with a high school diploma: 31.3%

  • 25 and older with some college or an associate degree: 27.4%

  • 25 and older with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 24.1%

Pomona, JAN 26: Aerial view of some interesting round estate on JAN 26, 2019 at Pomonta, California - Image.
Pomona, JAN 26: Aerial view of some interesting round estate on JAN 26, 2019 at Pomonta, California - Image.

19. Pomona, California

  • 25 and older with a high school diploma: 24.3%

  • 25 and older with some college or an associate degree: 26.7%

  • 25 and older with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 17.8%

Hartford Connecticut in the fall
Hartford Connecticut in the fall

18. Hartford, Connecticut

  • 25 and older with a high school diploma: 33.6%

  • 25 and older with some college or an associate degree: 23.8%

  • 25 and older with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 16.8%

Sunrise Manor Nevada
Sunrise Manor Nevada

17. Sunrise Manor, Nevada

  • 25 and older with a high school diploma: 33.7%

  • 25 and older with some college or an associate degree: 28.4%

  • 25 and older with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 10.6%

Photo of a Residential Neighborhood with Houses and Rooftops in the Inglewood area of Los Angeles, California, USA, shot from above.
Photo of a Residential Neighborhood with Houses and Rooftops in the Inglewood area of Los Angeles, California, USA, shot from above.

16. Inglewood, California

  • 25 and older with a high school diploma: 21.1%

  • 25 and older with some college or an associate degree: 34.1%

  • 25 and older with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 20.5%

Springfield is a city in Western Massachusetts in the Pioneer Valley region.
Springfield is a city in Western Massachusetts in the Pioneer Valley region.

15. Springfield, Massachusetts

  • 25 and older with a high school diploma: 31.4%

  • 25 and older with some college or an associate degree: 27.3%

  • 25 and older with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 18.6%

Pasadena-Houston-Texas
Pasadena-Houston-Texas

14. Pasadena, Texas

  • 25 and older with a high school diploma: 30.9%

  • 25 and older with some college or an associate degree: 26.5%

  • 25 and older with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 14.2%

Kansas City Kansas
Kansas City Kansas

13. Kansas City, Kansas

  • 25 and older with a high school diploma: 32.4%

  • 25 and older with some college or an associate degree: 28.9%

  • 25 and older with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 17.2%

Lehigh Acres Florida
Lehigh Acres Florida

12. Lehigh Acres, Florida

  • 25 and older with a high school diploma: 36.9%

  • 25 and older with some college or an associate degree: 29.3%

  • 25 and older with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 13.6%

Check Out: The Best Colleges With Tuition Under $20K

San Bernardino is a city located in the Riverside–San Bernardino metropolitan area and that serves as the county seat of San Bernardino County, California, United States.
San Bernardino is a city located in the Riverside–San Bernardino metropolitan area and that serves as the county seat of San Bernardino County, California, United States.

11. San Bernardino, California

  • 25 and older with a high school diploma: 28.3%

  • 25 and older with some college or an associate degree: 28.4%

  • 25 and older with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 11.7%

McAllen is the largest city in Hidalgo County, Texas, United States, and the twenty-second most populous city in Texas.
McAllen is the largest city in Hidalgo County, Texas, United States, and the twenty-second most populous city in Texas.

10. McAllen, Texas

  • 25 and older with a high school diploma: 19.1%

  • 25 and older with some college or an associate degree: 25.8%

  • 25 and older with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 30.4%

Laredo is the county seat of Webb County, Texas, United States, on the north bank of the Rio Grande in South Texas, across from Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, Mexico.
Laredo is the county seat of Webb County, Texas, United States, on the north bank of the Rio Grande in South Texas, across from Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, Mexico.

9. Laredo, Texas

  • 25 and older with a high school diploma: 26.4%

  • 25 and older with some college or an associate degree: 23.0%

  • 25 and older with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 18.9%

Palmdale, California.
Palmdale, California.

8. Palmdale, California

  • 25 and older with a high school diploma: 25.3%

  • 25 and older with some college or an associate degree: 33.5%

  • 25 and older with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 15.0%

Houses on the waterfront in Oxnard, California, USA on a sunny day.
Houses on the waterfront in Oxnard, California, USA on a sunny day.

7. Oxnard, California

  • 25 and older with a high school diploma: 23.0%

  • 25 and older with some college or an associate degree: 28.7%

  • 25 and older with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 17.2%

View of Santa Ana, California.
View of Santa Ana, California.

6. Santa Ana, California

  • 25 and older with a high school diploma: 22.3%

  • 25 and older with some college or an associate degree: 22.0%

  • 25 and older with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 14.0%

Brownsville is located at the southernmost tip of Texas, on the northern bank of the Rio Grande, directly north and across the border from Matamoros, Tamaulipas, Mexico.
Brownsville is located at the southernmost tip of Texas, on the northern bank of the Rio Grande, directly north and across the border from Matamoros, Tamaulipas, Mexico.

5. Brownsville, Texas

  • 25 and older with a high school diploma: 23.4%

  • 25 and older with some college or an associate degree: 22.1%

  • 25 and older with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 18.9%

Bosque del Rio Hondo El Monte California
Bosque del Rio Hondo El Monte California

4. El Monte, California

  • 25 and older with a high school diploma: 26.7%

  • 25 and older with some college or an associate degree: 19.5%

  • 25 and older with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 11.7%

Salinas, California, United States- March 12,2017: Late afternoon Main Street downtown scene.
Salinas, California, United States- March 12,2017: Late afternoon Main Street downtown scene.

3. Salinas, California

  • 25 and older with a high school diploma: 22.3%

  • 25 and older with some college or an associate degree: 23.4%

  • 25 and older with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 13.3%

Santa Maria California
Santa Maria California

2. Santa Maria, California

  • 25 and older with a high school diploma: 19.7%

  • 25 and older with some college or an associate degree: 26.5%

  • 25 and older with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 13.4%

Traffic at streets of East LA,.
Traffic at streets of East LA,.

1. East Los Angeles, California

  • 25 and older with a high school diploma: 23.3%

  • 25 and older with some college or an associate degree: 19.8%

  • 25 and older with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 8.3%

More From GOBankingRates

Methodology: GOBankingRates analyzed every city in America with a population greater than 100,000 according to the 2018 United States Census Bureau’s American Community Survey to find the most and least educated cities in the country. Using the 2018 ACS, GOBankingRates found the following factors for each city: (1) the percent of 18- to 24-year-olds with less than a high school degree; (2) the percent of residents 25 and older with less than a high school degree; (3) the percent of 18- to 24-year-olds with a high school degree or equivalent; (4) the percent of residents 25 and older with a high school degree or equivalent; (5) the percent of 18- to 24-year-olds with some college or an associate’s degree; (6) the percent of residents 25 and older with some college or an Associate’s degree; (7) the percent of 18- to 24-year-olds with a bachelor’s degree or higher; and (8) the percent of residents 25 and older with a bachelor’s degree or higher. These eight factors were then scored and combined to give a final ranking. A lower percentage of residents in categories (1) and (2) and a higher percentage of residents in categories (3) through (8) were considered indicators that a city was more highly educated. In the final calculation of scores, factors (5) and (6) carried half as much weight as other factors and factors (7) and (8) were weighted twice as heavily as other factors. For the cities listed in the final rankings, supplemental data was provided on the unemployment rate, annual median earnings for residents 16 years and older with earnings and the typical home value in August 2020. Unemployment and earnings data were sourced from the 2018 ACS and the typical home value was sourced from Zillow. All research was conducted on and up to date as of Sept. 16, 2020.

This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: Most and Least Educated Cities in America