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US Census Bureau News Release

MONDAY, MAY 10, 2004

Stephen Buckner CB04-CN.07
Public Information Office  
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College Education Rankings  

Seattle Residents Among Nation’s Most Educated


     With nearly half its population 25 years and older having at least a bachelor’s degree, Seattle has one of the highest rates of college education among large U.S. cities, according to a ranking of American Community Survey (ACS) data released today by the U.S. Census Bureau.

     The new Census Bureau analysis of 2002 ACS data shows that 48.8 percent of Seattle’s
25-and-over population has earned at least a bachelor’s degree. Other large cities (250,000 population or more) with high college-education rates were: Raleigh, N.C. (48.0 percent); San Francisco (47.8 percent); and Atlanta (41.2 percent). (See Table 1.) The national college graduation rate was 25.9 percent.

     “With commencement ceremonies approaching, college seniors in this country should feel confident of their economic future,” Census Bureau Director Louis Kincannon said. “College graduates may expect to earn, on average, nearly $2.1 million in their lifetimes. That is nearly twice as much as those who have only high school diplomas.”

     States with some of the highest percentages of college graduates were: Massachusetts (35.5 percent); Colorado (33.5 percent); Maryland (33.1 percent); Connecticut (32.9 percent); and Virginia (31.7 percent). Additionally, 42.5 percent of residents of the District of Columbia, a state equivalent, had bachelor’s degrees. (See Table 2.)

     Of the 231 counties with populations of 250,000 or more surveyed by the ACS, three of the four with the highest percentages of college graduates were in the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, D.C.-Va.-Md.-W. Va., metro area: Howard County (58.2 percent) and Montgomery County (56.3 percent) in Maryland and Fairfax County (55.9 percent) in Virginia. Other counties with high rates were Boulder, Colo. (55.2 percent), New York, N.Y. (53.0 percent), Johnson, Kan. (48.5 percent), Collin, Texas (48.1 percent), and San Francisco, Calif. (47.8 percent). (See Table 3.)

     Other survey highlights:

     - The percentage of college graduates in the state of Washington (29.7 percent) is about 4 percentage points higher than the national rate.

     - Six of the top 12 states with the highest percentages of college graduates were in the Northeast region (Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Vermont and New Hampshire).

     - Six states with high percentages of college graduates (New Jersey, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Minnesota) also were among states having the highest estimated median household income.

     The American Community Survey data are based on responses from a sample of households across the nation. As with all surveys, the estimates and rankings may vary from the actual values because of sampling or nonsampling variations. The statistical statements have undergone testing, and comparisons are significant at the 90 percent confidence level. Additional information and data profiles for the nation, states, counties and places may be accessed at <> or <>.

     The new American Community Survey (ACS) is the cornerstone of the government’s effort to keep pace with the country’s ever-increasing demands for timely and relevant population and housing data. After it is fully implemented in July 2004, it will provide current demographic, housing, social and economic information about America’s communities every year — information previously available only once every 10 years.




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Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Public Information Office |  Last Revised: August 09, 2007