Most: Ann Arbor, Michigan
Ann Arbor, Michigan, scored the best of the best in several of the categories tested by WalletHub and were deemed the most educated city in the United States overall. They have a population percentage with the highest number of high school diplomas, associate’s degrees or college experience, bachelor’s degrees, and professional or graduate degrees. That’s a well-educated city!
They also ranked as one of the top five cities with the highest quality universities. They didn’t rank either positively or negatively for education gaps according to race and gender, so that means they have fairly equal opportunities across the board.
Most: San Jose, California
San Jose, California, ranked number two in the nation overall as the second-most educated city in the United States. Their main claim to fame is the tie with Ann Arbor, and others, for the highest percentage of professional or graduate degrees among their population.
They also ranked as one of the top five cities with the highest percentage of bachelor degrees in the country. While they didn’t rank in the top five for high school diplomas, we know that they have a lot of high school grads living there as well with such high percentages of bachelor’s and graduate degrees.
Most: Washington D.C.
Washington D.C. obviously has a very large population of highly educated people since it is the home of the United States capitol. It is part of the large tie in this study of having the highest percentage of professional or graduate degrees.
D.C. is also one of the top five metropolitan areas with the highest percentage of bachelor’s degrees. This is also why this area has so many high-paying job opportunities and high standards of living. D.C. is ranked 3rd overall.
Most: Durham, North Carolina
Durham, North Carolina, is also involved in the tie for the population's highest professional or graduate degree percentage. Overall, it's in 4th place.
Durham is home to Duke University, a very prestigious school, and has other highly-rated universities in the area as well. Because of this, this metropolitan area is rated as one of the top five in the country for highest university quality.
Most: San Francisco, California
A population’s level of education is very closely related to the local economy. San Francisco is one of the cities in the U.S. with the highest cost of living, and it is also in the top five most educated cities in the U.S. Coincidence? It's currently 5th place for most educated cities.
San Francisco, California, is also in the top five cities with the highest percentage of bachelor’s degrees, which means San Francisco also ranks high with high school degrees and high local prices.
Most: Madison, Wisconsin
Madison, Wisconsin, is one of the top cities with the highest percentages of people with a high school diploma and with an associate’s degree or some college experience. While they don’t have a large percentage of higher degree earners, this still makes them more educated than the rest of the country.
However, it appears that this really only applies to white people. WalletHub found that there is a large racial education gap in Madison that favors white people over Black people. We would love to see this change to at least be more race inclusive! Currently, it's sitting at six out of 150!
Most: Boston, Massachusetts
Boston, Massachusetts, is another city that is part of the tie of having the highest percentage of professional or graduate degrees among their population over the age of 25.
While it didn’t rank in the top five in any of the other categories, it is still very high on the overall list, so it must also have a high percentage of degree holders in general as well. It's sitting in the seventh place for most educated.
Most: Seattle, Washington
Seattle, Washington, also didn’t place in the top five in any of the categories that WalletHub studied, but it ranks number eight overall, which is very impressive.
This means that Seattle is generally high in all of the studied areas of degree holders over the age of 25 and is one of the top 10 most educated cities in the United States.
Most: Austin, Texas
Austin, Texas, is another city that didn’t place in the top five of any of the categories, but it is still ranked as the 9th most educated city overall.
Austin is the only city in Texas on the top 10 list, but Texas also has quite a few cities on the bottom 10 list. Click through to find out where Texas actually fell short in many ways with its education.
Most: Norwalk, Connecticut
Unlike these past two cities, Norwalk, Connecticut, did place in the top five of a category that was studied by WalletHub. Norwalk and the surrounding metropolitan area has a very high percentage of bachelor degrees in its population. It currently sits at number 10.
Norwalk, Bridgeport, and Stamford were all included in this statistic. They are all very close to New Haven, which is where Yale is located. That explains why so many people have bachelor’s degrees in this area.
Most: Colorado Springs, Colorado
Colorado Springs, Colorado, was ranked as one of the top five (ranked 11th) in the category of highest percentage of associate’s degrees or college experience.
While it is not in the top 10 of the most educated cities in the United States, it is still close to the top and outranks many of the other metropolitan areas in the country overall.
Most: Raleigh, North Carolina
Raleigh, North Carolina, was not included in the same metropolitan area as Durham/Chapel Hill, which ranked number four overall, even though they are very close neighbors, but it actually ranks lower than Durham overall. It's sitting at the top 12.
The Durham/Chapel Hill area is home to quite a few universities, and while Raleigh is the home of North Carolina State University, it just doesn’t rank as high as its neighbor in the WalletHub study, but it is still one of the most educated cities in the United States.
Most: Provo, Utah
Provo, Utah, is overall number 13 in the most educated cities in the United States, but it also ranked in the top five for population with the highest percentage of high school diplomas and in the highest percentage of associate’s degrees or college experience.
Provo is not home to a university, and is a smaller city south of Salt Lake, but it is a very nice and beautiful city that is home to one of the highest populations of educated people over the age of 25 in the United States.
Most: Denver, Colorado
Coming in at just a couple of ranking spots lower than their neighbor Colorado Springs, Denver, Colorado, comes in at number 14 overall in the most educated cities in the United States.
Denver is also home to quite a few universities. They didn’t rank in any of the specific categories studied by WalletHub, but they are still ranked very high overall.
Most: Trenton, New Jersey
Trenton, New Jersey, may be number 15 in the most educated cities in the United States, but they have something to brag about because they were ranked as having the highest university quality of all of the cities on this list.
However, they shouldn’t be so quick to boast because they were also ranked in the top five of largest racial education gaps favoring white people. This means that minorities have a harder time getting an education in Trenton. What’s the point of having high quality universities if it’s not attainable for everyone?
Least: Lafayette, Louisiana
To begin the list of the least educated cities in the United States is Lafayette, Louisiana, coming in at number 136 out of the 150 metropolitan areas studied by WalletHub.
They were also ranked in the bottom five for having one of the lowest percentages of a population with an associate’s degree or college experience. However, there are colleges in the area. The students must move away after graduation, or an education at one of those colleges must not be very attainable.
Least: San Bernardino, California
San Bernardino, California, is next on the list of the least educated cities in the United States. They are also on the list of the worst college towns in the United States as well.
They didn’t rank in anything specifically low for any of the categories WalletHub studied, but overall, their population is just not educated. Given that they are one of the worst college towns as well, their educational system must not be up to par with what it should be. Out of 150, it's ranked on the bottom at 137.
Leaset: Lakeland, Florida
Lakeland, Florida, also didn’t rank in any specific category for being one of the least educated cities in the United States, but it is still in the bottom 15. Out of 150, it's ranked on the bottom at 138.
Lakeland is located outside of Tampa, and it is known for being a poorer area of town. It doesn’t have any high-ranking universities either.
Least: Corpus Christi, Texas
Corpus Christi, Texas, almost made it to the bottom 10 on the list of 150 metropolitan areas, but missed it by just a hair — 139 out of 150 metro areas.
They didn’t rank in anything specifically negative, but they did gain some extra credit from the researchers at WalletHub for having a large racial education gap that favors Black people. This means that the Black people in this city are much more educated than the majority of white people in this city, which is a good thing because this isn’t the case in other parts of the United States.
Least: Beaumont, Texas
Beaumont, Texas, is bringing in the bottom 10 — 140 out of 150.. They scored the lowest in percentage of bachelor’s degrees and percentage of graduate or professional degrees. This means that there are only a few people in this city with higher than a high school education.
They did receive extra credit, however, for having a large gender education gap that favors women. This means that the majority of women in Beaumont have gotten a higher education than the majority of men in this city.
Least: Fresno, California
Least: Salinas, California
Salinas, California, ranked in one of bottom five of the lowest percentages of high school diplomas in its city population. Salinas is sitting at 142 out of 150.
There are only two high schools in the area with its population of over 150,000 residents. It’s a dramatic shift from its neighbor to the north San Francisco, which is one of the most educated cities in the U.S.
Least: Ocala, Florida
Ocala, Florida, is located north of Lakeland, another one of the bottom 15 (143 out of 150 metro areas) in the least educated cities in the United States.
They are both located in the middle of Florida, north of Tampa and Orlando. Florida isn’t known for many good things, and it looks like education isn’t one of those good things.
Least: Stockton, California
Here is another California city on the bottom 15 list (ranked 144 out of 150). Although California has two of the most educated cities in the United States, it also has six of the least educated cities in the United States.
Stockton, like Salinas, is also located near San Francisco. Stockton is just south of California’s capital of Sacramento and east of San Francisco. It didn’t rank for anything in particular, but it is definitely shocking that some of the most and least educated cities in the U.S. are so close together.
Least: Hickory, North Carolina
Hickory, North Carolina, is more of a smaller-town metro area. It is located pretty far west of Durham and Raleigh, two of the most educated cities in the United States that are also in North Carolina. Poor Hickory is ranked 145 out of the 150 metro areas.
Hickory just barely made it out of the bottom five. There really isn’t anything else significant to say about it as it didn’t rank in the bottom five of any particular category, but given its placement overall, most of the people in the city must not have many degrees.
Least: Modesto, California
We have made it to the bottom five, all of which are either in California or Texas. Modesto, California, ranked specifically in the lower five of lowest percentage of bachelor’s degrees and in the lowest percentage of professional or graduate degrees.
However, this city did receive extra credit from WalletHub since it has the largest racial education gap that favors Black people in the United States. However, given its other placements, it doesn’t look like it makes up for its lack of quality education or educated people. Out of 146, it's ranked on the bottom at 149.
Least: Bakersfield, California
The next least educated city in the bottom five of the United States for California is Bakersfield. Bakersfield ranked in the bottom five for several specific categories as well.
They had some of the lowest percentages of high school diplomas, associate’s degrees or college experience, bachelor’s degrees, and professional or graduate degrees. They were also tied with Brownsville, Texas, for lowest university quality of all of the 150 cities studied. It's ranked 147 out of 150.
Least: McAllen, Texas
McAllen, Texas, is located on the border with Mexico. It is ranked as the lowest percentage of high school diplomas in its population in the country, and it also has the lowest percentage of associate’s degrees or college experience, which tied with Brownsville. Out of 150, it's ranked on the bottom at 148.
On top of this, they were also in the bottom five for the lowest percentages of professional or graduate degrees. Many people cross the border into the United States for a better chance for education and employment, and that is available in McAllen, but it definitely isn’t the best that the United States has to offer.
Least: Brownsville, Texas
The second least educated city in the United States is Brownsville, Texas. They were ranked the lowest in the categories of the percentage of associate’s degrees or college experience and the lowest university quality in the United States. Out of 150, it's ranked on the bottom at 149.
They also ranked in the bottom five for lowest percentage of high school diplomas, bachelor’s degrees, and professional or graduate degrees. “Don’t mess with Texas” must mean with their education.
Least: Visalia, California
The least educated city in the United States as of 2020 is the Visalia, California, metropolitan area. They ranked dead last, overall, of the 150 metro areas studied, and also ranked last for the lowest percentage of bachelor’s degrees and professional or graduate degrees.
They also were in the bottom five for lowest percentage of high school diplomas and of associate’s degrees or college experience. They also have a large racial education gap that favors Black people, meaning the Black population in Visalia is more educated than the white population in Visalia, which gave them extra credit points in the WalletHub scoring system, but it didn’t make up for the lack of overall education in Visalia.