Which Metro Areas Have the Most Graduate Degrees?
More Americans are earning graduate degrees. See how your area compares to others.
More Americans are electing to go back to school and earn advanced degrees, recent estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau indicate.
Nationwide, about 22.7 million Americans held master’s, professional or doctorate degrees last year. That’s more than 11 percent of the total population, up from 9 percent 10 years ago.
While Census data shows increases across all levels of educational attainment in recent years, the group earning advanced degrees has seen the fastest growth.
About 16.5 million people held a master’s degree in 2012, up 43.3 percent from 2002. Similarly, the number with doctorate degrees climbed to 3.1 million, a 45.1 percent increase. Those with bachelor’s degrees as their highest level of education also rose but by a far lower rate of 24.9 percent over the 10-year period.
This chart illustrates the steady increase in educational attainment for people who are at least 25 years old:
The vast majority of individuals holding advanced degrees are employed in professional and related occupations. The Census Bureau estimates about 47 percent work in educational and health services, while another 17 percent work in professional and business services.
Metro areas with high concentrations of these well-educated individuals enjoy considerable advantages. Most notably, those with advanced degrees typically earn much higher wages.
Not surprisingly, smaller college towns are home to the most residents holding graduate or professional degrees. Areas with the largest percentages of such residents, as measured in the 2011 American Community Survey, were Ithaca, N.Y., (29.1 percent) Ann Arbor, Mich., (25.9 percent) and Bolder, Colo. (25.8 percent).
Among metro areas with populations exceeding 500,000, the following had the largest concentrations of residents holding graduate or professional degrees:
|Area||Population 25 years and over||Graduate or professional degree %||Bachelor's or higher %||High school graduate or higher %|
|Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV||3,832,547||22.9 (+/-0.3)||48 (+/-0.4)||90.4 (+/-0.3)|
|San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA||1,252,876||19.9 (+/-0.6)||45.1 (+/-0.7)||86.9 (+/-0.6)|
|Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, MA-NH||3,142,424||19 (+/-0.4)||43.1 (+/-0.5)||90.6 (+/-0.3)|
|Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT||625,898||18.2 (+/-0.8)||44.1 (+/-1.1)||88.9 (+/-0.6)|
|San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, CA||3,084,235||17.4 (+/-0.4)||43.9 (+/-0.5)||87.4 (+/-0.4)|
|Albany-Schenectady-Troy, NY||591,878||15.4 (+/-0.7)||34.4 (+/-1.1)||92.1 (+/-0.7)|
|Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, CT||828,727||15.4 (+/-0.7)||35.2 (+/-1.0)||89.4 (+/-0.7)|
|New Haven-Milford, CT||586,402||15.3 (+/-0.7)||32.6 (+/-0.9)||88 (+/-0.7)|
|Baltimore-Towson, MD||1,841,490||15.1 (+/-0.5)||35.8 (+/-0.7)||89 (+/-0.4)|
|New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island, NY-NJ-PA||12,944,112||14.9 (+/-0.2)||36.2 (+/-0.2)||84.8 (+/-0.2)|
To see how your area compares, select it in the menu below. The chart contains educational attainment data for more than 500 metropolitan and micropolitan statistical areas from the 2011 American Community Survey.
Figures shown represent the portion of the population 25 years and older. Please note that some metro areas have high margins of error.
Join the Discussion
After you comment, click Post. You can enter an anonymous Display Name or connect to a social profile.
The Week in Public Finance: Taxes, Drought and a Nod to the Baha Men1 day ago
How Data Can Improve Transit Efficiency1 day ago
Fresno Deputy Police Chief Arrested on Drug Charges1 day ago
States Trying to Figure Out Whether Entertainment Tax Credits Really Work1 day ago
Chris Christie Rails Against Estate Taxes New Jersey Needs1 day ago
Public Defender: San Francisco Jail Guards Forced Inmates to Fight Each Other1 day ago