With millions of Americans saddled with seemingly insurmountable levels of student debt, some are calling into question the practicality of obtaining a four-year college degree. Still, the share of Americans who have earned a bachelor’s degree rose last year. As of 2016, 31.3% of Americans age 25 and older had a bachelor’s degree or higher — up from 30.6% the previous year and 29.1% in 2012.
Better educated populations tend to benefit from a range of positive socioeconomic outcomes. American adults with a bachelor’s degree generally earn higher incomes, are less susceptible to serious financial hardship, and are more desirable candidates for employers.
> Pct. of adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 38.6%
> Median earnings for bachelor’s degree holders: $61,257 (2nd highest)
> Median household income: $73,433 (6th highest)
> 2016 unemployment: 5.1% (16th highest)
Connecticut’s 38.6% share of residents with at least a bachelor’s degree is the second highest in New England and fourth highest in the United States. In general, higher educational attainment leads to higher annual incomes and in Connecticut, a four-year college degree is more valuable than in most other states. The typical college educated adult in Connecticut earns $61,257 a year, more than in every other state except for New Jersey, and nearly $10,000 more than is typical nationwide.
24/7 Wall St. ranked each state by the share of adults 25 and older with at least a bachelor’s degree. In the most educated state, 42.7% of adults have a four-year college degree, more than double the share of 20.8% in the least educated state.
Editor’s note: Due to a fact-checking error, Idaho was incorrectly referred to as Iowa in a previous version of this article. This error has been corrected.