The United States Census has some interesting facts on the education rates of each state. The chart below shows the percentage of adults over 25 years of age who have at least a bachelors degree. The top position goes to the District of Columbia, but since it is such a small area, it probably isn’t really fair to compare it with the other states. If we don’t count D.C. then the most educated state is Massachusetts where you stand a 36% chance that anyone you happen to meet has graduated with a four year degree.
I was surprised to see that Kansas (30%) is so high in the list. Having lived in Kansas and now in Michigan, I expected Michigan to be higher than Kansas. But Michigan is only at 24%. This seemed odd to me until I realised that until recently most of the non-engineering jobs in Michigan were in factories making cars or furniture. Adults who didn’t go to college are less likely to encourage their kids to go. Unfortunately many of the people who worked in factories have been laid off in the past few years and many of them are having a very difficult time finding other work. While a college education doesn’t guarantee you a job, it is sure a good thing to have when there are 200 people applying for each open position.
I’m still not sure why Kansas is so high on the list. I would guess that the past few generations of farmers tried to send their kids to college because they realized that family farms weren’t going to continue to be profitable. I don’t know if this is what actually happened because it seems Michigan would have done the same thing, but I guess downturn in farming started many years before what is currently impacting Michigan factory workers.
|District of Columbia||45.7|