GeoFRED can help us track aspects of education, which can vary significantly among U.S. states. This map shows the fraction of those 25 years or older who have completed a bachelor’s degree. The data are from 2012 (the last year the Census Bureau published such statistics) for the 50 states plus Washington, DC. Darker shades represent a higher fraction of those with a bachelor’s degree.
Clearly, there are large disparities in educational attainment: Our nation’s capital takes the cake, with 53% of residents 25 years or older having completed a bachelor’s degree. As for the states, Massachusetts tops the list with 39.3%, while Mississippi is at the other end of the spectrum with 20.7%.
States with a larger share of college graduates seem to cluster on the northeast coast (e.g., New York has 33.4%) and the west coast (e.g., Washington has 31.7%). States with lower educational attainment form a crescent shape from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico. Colorado is an exception, with 37.5% despite its distance from the coasts; it’s second only to Massachusetts.
How this map was created: From GeoFRED, after clicking on “Build New Map,” go to the “Tools” menu. Select “State” under “Region Type” and search for “People 25 Years and Over Who Have Completed a Bachelor’s Degree.” Under “Edit Legend,” choose four color classes; under “Choose Colors,” use whichever color scheme you prefer.
Suggested by Ana Maria Santacreu and Heting Zhu.