Careers

These are the 10 most highly-educated states in America 

Graduates From Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Darren McCollester/Getty Images
Graduates From Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

While more Americans are going to college than ever before, that shift might not be enough to compete in the global economy in the years ahead. New numbers reveal which states are producing the most educated workers, the ones poised to succeed in a market that values training and adaptability.

In 1940, just 4.6 percent of adults over the age of 25 held a bachelor's degree or more. Today, that figure is closer to 33.4 percent, a jump of more than 600 percent. Around 12 percent have an advanced degree such as a master's.

But even though the United States has made great strides in increasing access to higher education, the country is still falling behind other nations. According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the U.S. ranks fifth in adult education levels.

This fall could not come at a worse time. Researchers at the Department of Education, the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce and the Lumina Foundation all predict that around 65 percent of all jobs in the United States will require workers to have some form of post-secondary education by 2020.

Career services site Zippia recently analyzed U.S. census data in order to determine which states were leading the charge in creating a highly-educated workforce.

They found that 10 states stood out for having the highest percentage of people holding a master's degree or more. Massachusetts, where 41 percent of citizens have a bachelor's degree and 18 percent have a master's degree or more, topped the list. Several other states in the Northeast ranked highly including Connecticut, New York and Vermont. Zippia credits this geographic trend to significant investments in public education as well as prestigious colleges and universities in the region.

Here are the 10 most educated states in America:

Faunce House at Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island
Yiming Chen | Getty Images
Faunce House at Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island

10. Rhode Island

Population: 1,054,491

Percentage of citizens with a master's or more: 13.1%

Percentage of citizens with a bachelor's or more: 32.5%

9. New Hampshire

Population: 1,327,503

Percentage of citizens with a master's or more: 13.37%

Percentage of citizens with a bachelor's or more: 35.47%

8. Colorado

Population: 5,359,295

Percentage of citizens with a master's or more: 14.34%

Percentage of citizens with a bachelor's or more: 38.74%

7. New Jersey

Population: 8,915,456

Percentage of citizens with a master's or more: 14.36%

Percentage of citizens with a bachelor's or more: 37.46%

6. Vermont

Population: 626,249

Percentage of citizens with a master's or more: 14.5%

Percentage of citizens with a bachelor's or more: 36.2%

New York City skyline
 Westend61 | Getty Images
New York City skyline

5. New York

Population: 19,697,457

Percentage of citizens with a master's or more: 15.09%

Percentage of citizens with a bachelor's or more: 34.79%

4. Virginia

Population: 8,310,301

Percentage of citizens with a master's or more: 15.69%

Percentage of citizens with a bachelor's or more: 36.89%

3. Connecticut

Population: 3,588,570

Percentage of citizens with a master's or more: 16.79%

Percentage of citizens with a bachelor's or more: 38.09%

2. Maryland

Population: 5,959,902

Percentage of citizens with a master's or more: 17.72%

Percentage of citizens with a bachelor's or more: 38.42%

1. Massachusetts

Population: 6,742,143

Percentage of citizens with a master's or more: 18.17%

Percentage of citizens with a bachelor's or more: 41.27%

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