The Most Educated City in America
Ann Arbor, Michigan topped this year’s list as the number one most educated city, while Corpus Christi, Texas ranked as the least educated city, according to WalletHub’s report on 2022’s Most & Least Educated Cities in America.
To determine its ranking, WalletHub compared the 150 largest metropolitan statistical areas across two key dimensions — “emotional attainment” and “quality of education & attainment gap.”
The emotional attainment dimension includes key metrics, such as the share of adults aged 25 and older who hold a high school diploma, associate’s degree, bachelor’s degree, or graduate degree, respectively.
The quality of education & attainment gap includes key metrics, such as the quality of public school system, average quality of universities, racial education gap, and gender education gap, to name a few.
ANN ARBOR IS THE ‘MOST EDUCATED’ CITY
The Ann Arbor, Michigan metro area, according to the report, holds the highest share of bachelor’s degree holders aged 25 and older at 56.7%—nearly four times higher than Visalia, California, where only 14.6% of the metro area are bachelor’s degree holders.
Some experts say that highly educated cities are better able to withstand economic shocks—as the U.S. economy may be headed towards a recession.
“To an extent, ‘highly educated’ cities can withstand financial turbulence better than those without strong educational systems,” Michael T. Miller, a Professor of Higher Education at the University of Arkansas’ College of Education and Health Professions, tells WalletHub. “Education equates to opportunity, things like workplace flexibility and rapid response to changing workplace demands. So, a community that has better schools and postsecondary access generally can provide opportunities that would otherwise not be present in providing jobs to citizens.”
WORCESTER HAS HIGHEST RACIAL EDUCATION GAP
The metro area with the highest racial education gap is Worcester, Massachusetts, where the share of Black bachelor’s degree holders aged 25 and older is 26.11% and the share of white bachelor’s degree holders is 20.78%. For comparison, the national average for Black people with the same attributes is 13.94%, and 21.27% for their white counterparts.
One barrier to higher education for many in the U.S.? Cost.
“Eliminating tuition at public colleges and universities would be the most effective way for a country to develop a more skilled workplace and a better society,” A. Aneesh, a Professor of Sociology at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, tells WalletHub. “This will also have a downward pressure on private school tuition. And it is not as expensive as people think. The estimated cost of tuition-free college in the United States is around $80 billion a year, which is the same amount that the US government spends on public prisons and jails. For comparison, military spending stood at $800 billion in 2021.”
See the full WalletHub ranking here.
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