These are the most and least educated cities in America

Story at a glance


  • Ann Arbor, Mich., topped the list in a WalletHub study for the second year in a row.


  • More than 95 percent of Ann Arbor resident aged 25 and older have a high school diploma, 57 percent have a bachelor’s degree and about 30 percent have an advanced degree.


  • Meanwhile, the study found the country’s least educated cities are predominantly located in California and Texas.


(KTLA) — A Midwestern city, affectionately known as “the land of splendor,” has been named the most educated in America, according to a recent WalletHub study.

The financial services company compared the 150 most populated metropolitan areas in the U.S., grading them based on a formula that included the share of adults with high school diplomas and college degrees and the quality of public education.

It also weighted racial and gender gaps.

Source: WalletHub

Ann Arbor, Michigan, ranked No. 1 for the second straight year. More than 95% of its residents aged 25 and older have a high school diploma, 57% have a bachelor’s degree, and about 30% have an advanced degree — the highest rates in the nation, per the study.

“In addition, the metro area has a lot of equality in educational attainment, with only a 1.9% gap between the share of women and men who have at least a bachelor’s degree,” Adam McCann, a financial writer for WalletHub, noted.

Americans say they need to earn $186K to live comfortably — but is it enough?

The study found that the San Jose metro area in California is the second-most educated in the U.S., while the Washington, D.C. area ranked third. See the top 10 below.

10 Most Educated Cities in the U.S., according to WalletHub

Overall Rank

Metropolitan Area

Educational Attainment Rank

Quality of Education & Attainment Gap Rank

1

Ann Arbor, MI

1

4

2

San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA

4

17

3

Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV

3

31

4

Durham-Chapel Hill, NC

8

1

5

Madison, WI

2

51

6

San Francisco-Oakland-Berkeley, CA

6

19

7

Raleigh-Cary, NC

5

30

8

Austin-Round Rock-Georgetown, TX

11

6

9

Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH

7

60

10

Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA

10

10

On the flip side, the least educated cities on WalletHub’s list are predominantly located in California and Texas. At the very bottom of the ranking is Visalia, California, followed by McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, Texas.

10 Least Educated Cities in the U.S., according to WalletHub

Overall Rank

Metropolitan Area

Educational Attainment Rank

Quality of Education & Attainment Gap Rank

141

Corpus Christi, TX

139

131

142

Salinas, CA

142

107

143

Beaumont-Port Arthur, TX

144

83

144

Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton, NC

141

140

145

Stockton, CA

145

92

146

Modesto, CA

146

141

147

Bakersfield, CA

147

120

148

Brownsville-Harlingen, TX

149

91

149

McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, TX

150

80

150

Visalia, CA

148

147

Stephanie Helms Pickett is the head of Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging at Antioch University, as well as a WalletHub expert. She says communities should re-examine how public education supports their local economies.

“Our country’s educational model fails to account the diverse ways that people learn, process information and what best aligns not only with their interests but their skills,” Pickett says. ”The most important step we can take as a country to develop a more educated and skilled workforce is a partnership between higher education and industry – encompassing local businesses in forecasting the needed skills and training individuals to meet those needs.”

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