With in-person learning threatened by COVID-19 and higher levels of education correlating with higher earnings, the personal-finance website WalletHub today released its report on 2020’s Most & Least Educated Cities in America.

Two California cities are listed among the Most Educated Cities while six California communities find themselves among the least educated.

So, why does it matter? Cities want to attract highly educated workers to fuel their economic growth and tax revenues. Higher levels of education tend to lead to higher salaries, writes Adam McCann financial  writer for WalletHub. Plus, the more that graduates earn, the more tax dollars they contribute over time, according to the Economic Policy Institute. In turn, educated people want to live somewhere where they will get a good return on their educational investment. People also tend to marry others of the same educational level, which means that cities that already have a large educated population may be more attractive to people with degrees.

To determine where the most educated Americans are choosing to settle down, WalletHub compared the 150 largest U.S. metropolitan statistical areas, or MSAs, across 11 key metrics. The data set ranges from the share of adults aged 25 and older with a bachelor’s degree or higher to the racial education gap to the quality of the public-school system.

Most Educated Cities
1. Ann Arbor, MI
2. San Jose, CA
3. Washington, DC
4. Durham, NC
5. San Francisco, CA
6. Madison, WI
7. Boston, MA
8. Seattle, WA
9. Austin, TX
10. Bridgeport, CT

Least Educated Cities
141. Fresno, CA
142. Salinas, CA
143. Ocala, FL
144. Stockton, CA
145. Hickory, NC
146. Modesto, CA
147. Bakersfield, CA
148. McAllen, TX
149. Brownsville, TX
150. Visalia, CA

Key Stats

  • The Ann Arbor, MI, metro area has the highest share of bachelor’s degree holders aged 25 and older, 55.20 percent, which is 3.8 times higher than in Visalia-Porterville, CA, the metro area with the lowest at 14.40 percent.
  • The Modesto, CA, metro area has the highest racial education gap, with the share of black bachelor’s degree holders aged 25 and older at 21.45 percent, compared with 10.74 percent for their white counterparts, a difference of 10.72 percent favoring black people.
  • For comparison, the national average for black people with the same attributes is 13.65 percent and it is 20.92 percent for their white counterparts.
  • The Anchorage, Alaska, metro area has the highest gender education gap, with the share of female bachelor’s degree holders aged 25 and older at 21.41 percent, compared with 18.24 percent for their male counterparts, a difference of 3.18 percent favoring women.
  • For comparison, the national average for women with the same attributes is 19.74 percent and it is 19.13 percent for their male counterparts.

To view the full report and your city’s rank, please click here. 

Image Sources

  • educated cities: Pixaby