Top 10 Most-Educated U.S. States

Name the states where the highest percentage of people over 25 have at least a bachelor's degree.
For the year 2020, according to the U.S. Census
Quiz by nonono
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Last updated: December 3, 2021
First submittedNovember 5, 2015
Times taken37,361
Average score70.0%
Rating4.46
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%
State
46.9
Massachusetts
44.2
Colorado
43.1
Maryland
43.1
New Jersey
42.4
Connecticut
%
State
42.1
Vermont
42.0
Virginia
40.2
New Hampshire
39.5
New York
38.4
Washington
+6
Level 64
Nov 5, 2015
I'm glad to be in the top 20!
+2
Level 70
Mar 22, 2021
My state (Pennsylvania) just barely misses out, at #22. Although I'm guessing my town has a higher rate than average (and also a high graduate degree rate than average) since it's home to Penn State University.
+1
Level 65
Nov 9, 2015
Texas should be here. It would be interesting if we could have "Best Educated Cities Quiz". or do we have it already?
+26
Level 85
Nov 16, 2015
No. Texas just misses being in the bottom 20, coming in at #29 nationally.
+2
Level ∞
Sep 1, 2017
https://www.jetpunk.com/quizzes/americas-smartest-cities-quiz
+60
Level 64
May 5, 2016
Couldn't help but notice a vast majority of blue states on this quiz. Hmmm........
+38
Level 71
Sep 1, 2017
Most educated doesn't mean the smartest.
+31
Level 85
Sep 1, 2017
True, just means knows the most.
+9
Level 59
Dec 3, 2017
It usually does in Estonia. And yet, some Estonians complain that our education is too fact-based. American schools must be terrible if they don't teach children (and young people) how to put their knowledge to good use.
+10
Level 45
Dec 5, 2017
Do tell how you would quantify which is the smartest then?
+10
Level 58
Dec 10, 2021
no, but there is a correlation. Someone with a master degree has a 70% chance of having a higher IQ than someone without a degree. They don't know if college makes you smarter or if smart people just go to college. But it is a predictor of intelligence.
+3
Level 65
Dec 10, 2021
If anything you could argue that most educated means the most gullible. Many buy into the lie that a college education is needed for a successful career. Many students will graduate with tens of thousands of dollars in student loans and no great job or career to show for it. Don't get me wrong, there are some professions where a college education is absolutely a necessity. For example, I have a college education, but I would have a hard time finding a job working as an engineer without one. Medical doctors are another example of a profession where a college education is a must. Also, if you do the research into what colleges are teaching our young adults, you will find many examples of liberal indoctrination rather than teaching kids to think for themselves. This also plays into the "most educated" states being mostly blue.
+7
Level 61
Dec 10, 2021
It isn't exactly a "lie" that you need college to get a successful career, depending on your definition of a "successful career". If you want to have a more high-paying career, it really is necessary to have a college degree, as those who have them are much more likely to get a promotion/find a job with a large salary. Another thing. "Finding many examples of liberal indoctrination rather than teaching 'kids' to think for themselves??" What examples? If you want to make a controversial claim like that, you need to cite your "information" to make your claim credible.
+33
Level 85
Sep 1, 2017
The parallel quiz (Least Educated) consists of 9 red states and Nevada.
+32
Level 75
Sep 8, 2017
Interesting how the Republicans are an odd coalition of the poor uneducated, and the super-wealthy.
+16
Level ∞
Dec 3, 2017
Both Republicans and Democrats rely on large donations from the super wealthy:

https://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/07/opinion/how-did-the-democrats-become-favorites-of-the-rich.html

If I had to guess, I would guess that most people with a high net worth vote Democratic.

+19
Level 73
Dec 3, 2017
coming from a supporter of the democrats, this is probably mostly due to the fact that red states tend to be the more rural ones, which also causes less people to live close to a college or need a degree to continue the work of their family
+8
Level 77
Dec 3, 2017
Being rural doesn't mean we're uneducated.The old romantic notion of farm families working together on the farm is fast coming to an end, unfortunately. There are only around three million farmers left in the USA, less than two percent of the whole population works in ag-related jobs, and most farmers have ag degrees - at least the ones I know. I live in a red state, on a farm, and all five of our family members had no problem getting a college degree. The real problem is finding jobs, and those who get degrees often move to cities where jobs and services are better. It's difficult to get decent healthcare, internet, or phone service here. Our kids used to tell their friends we live so far out in the boonies that we get Saturday Night Live on Tuesday. We live on a Century Farm, but not one of our children became farmers so the farming line will probably end with us, and our farm will some day become a subdivision, unless one of our grandchildren decides to pursue the life.
+23
Level 77
Dec 3, 2017
I don't understand all the stereotypes that go along with red and blue states. People seem to think that everyone in a red state is conservative and everyone in a blue state is liberal, and their colors never change. I've yet to see a state that voted 100% one way. Most states are fairly evenly balanced and only a specific area, a key social issue, or creative gerrymandering makes the state lean one way or another. Anyone who's worked on national campaigns knows that often many states don't get campaign funds or candidate visits because the candidates are working on a formula to get the key states they want and don't worry about losing the others. They put all their resources into their key states. As we've seen, that strategy doesn't always work and it certainly does nothing to turn a state a different color in the future.
+3
Level 78
Dec 4, 2017
Jerry is referring to voter base, not donations. Which is indeed an odd combination, considering the new tax bill the Senate just passed.
+1
Level 57
Oct 3, 2019
youshallnotpass1 Can't you see New Hampshire and Vermont on the list? Those are some pretty rural states.
+1
Level 65
Oct 3, 2019
@ander217, I understand completely. I live in the very blue state of Illinois. However, I live in the southern half of the state where the majority of voters are conservative voters. Chicago completely decides where our electoral votes go, and who our Senators are. Many Chicagoans find it hard to believe just how many people live outside of Chicago. They (Chicagoans) live in their own little liberal bubble, blissfully unaware of how life is in the rest of the state.
+10
Level 75
Oct 3, 2019
@ctleng76, I'm not discounting your feelings about Chicago dominating Illinois politics but without Chicago Illinois would not have the influence nationally that it has. You guys get 18 Congressional districts due to the population of Chicago and Republicans, who I often hear complain the most, get five districts.

That is also one of my pet-peeves: People complaining about how one or two counties dominate the politics of the state. Chicago and its suburbs have 9.4 million people and Illinois has 12.7 million. When ~75% of the population lives in one area, it should have the most say. As my grandpa used to tell me, corn and cows can't vote.

+5
Level 84
Oct 10, 2019
Yeah the amount of gerrymandering that Republicans have done to steal a disproportionate amount of political power all over the country, even with the minority of people who support them, should be criminal. Yet they still complain.
+7
Level 67
Sep 1, 2017
It's better than least educated, which are all... another colour.
+10
Level 72
Sep 4, 2017
Many of the most educated people I know are the stupidest people I know. Being able to memorize information from books is only evidence of a good memory -- it's not indicative of knowing what to do with that information.
+26
Level 74
Dec 3, 2017
I don't know how that works in the US, but normally you shouldn't get a bachelor's degree by just memorizing information.
+8
Level 87
Dec 5, 2017
I don't think you know how higher education works.
+6
Level 65
Oct 3, 2019
It's not as simple as memorizing information, at least not when it comes to Science and Math where you need to understand concepts and apply them to solve problems. However, it is true that book smarts and common sense don't always go hand-in-hand. Some people are really good at school, but don't have a lick of common sense. I don't think our universities do a good enough job teaching students about life outside of college.
+3
Level 77
Dec 3, 2017
Blue states have good education systems, but most of them have struggling economies, especially my state of CT.
+18
Level 67
Oct 3, 2019
Most blue states have strong economies. Not sure where you're getting that.
+2
Level 54
Dec 3, 2017
Because blue states are thought of as smart, people build universities and colleges there. Because there are more universities and colleges in blue states, intelligent people tend to move there during that phase of their life. Because moving takes a lot of work, people tend to remain in those states or areas for a good while during and after their college education. Hence, the idea that blue states are smart is the primary progenitor of blue states being smart.
+15
Level 84
Dec 4, 2017
That's ridiculous.
+8
Level 54
Dec 4, 2017
Nice response, kal. Really clarifies why I'm wrong. Put me in my place. I surrender.
+2
Level 67
Oct 3, 2019
I think it's more about educated people going to centers of commerce and culture, i.e., cities. Most of the big cities tend to be in blue states, with the notable exceptions of Texas's cities and Atlanta. And even if what you say is true, it still means the educated people are living in blue states, and presumably raising their own families in those states and among those cultures and values. We can hazard guesses all day about how and why these people end up there, but the fact is that blue states have a disproportionate share of the country's intellectual horsepower.
+2
Level 77
Oct 3, 2019
Some better explanations might be that densely populated and economically thriving regions have more money to invest in good infrastructure, get more attention from politicians because of their large voter base, and attract educated people because they find higher paying jobs and generally more opportunities there.
+1
Level 75
Oct 3, 2019
No matter where you live in Ohio you live no more than 30 miles from a college or university. Outside of Cleveland-Akron, Columbus, Dayton, and Toledo, Ohio is very conservative and mainly rural (not much culture or commerce) yet there are a lot of institutes of higher education.
+2
Level 77
Oct 3, 2019
Just looked up a list of Top 10 universities in the US: 10) University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia), 9) Columbia University (NYC), 8) Yale (New Haven, Connecticutt) 7) Cornell (Ithaca, New York), 6) Princeton (New Jersey), 5) University of Chicago, 4) California Institute of Technology (Pasadena), 3) Harvard (Boston metro), 2) Stanford (relatively close to San Francisco), 1) MIT (Boston metro). So there seems to be a pattern of either large population, or economic prosperity, or both, even if the explanation doesn't hold true for every single case.
+2
Level 65
Oct 3, 2019
This is evidence of the extreme liberal bias within our nation's top universities. Professors in these universities don't teach students to think for themselves. They teach students to think like them. Conservative ideas are routinely squashed by professors, and conservative-leaning students are forced to change their view or fail the class.
+8
Level 84
Oct 3, 2019
Republicans in Texas wrote this (verbatim) in to their 2012 platform under the section on education:

Knowledge-Based Education – We oppose the teaching of Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) (values clarification), critical thinking skills and similar programs that are simply a relabeling of Outcome-Based Education (OBE) (mastery learning) which focus on behavior modification and have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority.

+9
Level 67
Oct 5, 2019
This is simply not true. First, I seriously doubt you have the expertise to speak knowledgeably about what professors all across the country are doing. Second, mostcourses are not subject to "liberal/conservative" divides. The hard sciences, math, engineering, medicine, psychology, and even a lot of philosophy and literature courses don't operate in those respects. You're talking about a sliver of social sciences that get all the attention among conservative rags. Third, despite alarmist journalism saying otherwise, academia is a rigorous and competitive profession. Professors have to publish robust and formidable research to ascend in stature, so it is not to their benefit to take indefensible or flimsy positions for political reasons.
+7
Level 67
Oct 5, 2019
Finally, I have spent a lot of time in academia and around academics, and I have never heard *one* single instance of a professor failing or even penalizing a student for his views. Professors grade based on the strength of an argument, and the supporting evidence for it, even and especially when it's an argument with which the professor disagrees. Nobody is going to fail you for being conservative. That's just a convenient excuse used by students who don't want to look in the mirror after getting a poor grade. As with anything else, there are probably a few professors scattered about the country who let their politics infect their grading, but they are outliers. Besides, as I already said, how is an engineering or statistics professor going to ding you for your political beliefs?
+1
Level 84
Oct 6, 2019
I have had a couple of professors who I feel penalized me for having different views, one was an ultra-left intersectional feminist social justice warrior type (I say this in retrospect, this happened when these ideas were pretty brand new, but I remember her talking about how sex was a social construct and having us write papers on our implicit racial biases), the other just had different taste in movies (she didn't like my paper equating Hostel with a snuff film). There was one other professor I had many years before that who gave me a bad grade on a paper that might have had something to do with politics; but it was also a pretty bad paper so can't totally blame him for the grade.

It does happen but it's far from the norm I'd say, except perhaps if you pursue a degree like Gender Studies or something else like that. It seems to me more and more that university students are creating a toxic environment on campuses more than university professors.

+2
Level 84
Oct 6, 2019
and while I actually do agree with ctleng's concerns about the direction American academia is headed, and his concerns are partially valid and shared by many professional academics including those that are very liberal (though they could make a much better case for why there is cause for concern that doesn't have to do with squashing "conservative ideas"), I was responding above to the implication that it's somehow a liberal principle to not teach students to think for themselves, which is silly.
+2
Level 84
Oct 6, 2019
And finally, the regressive left is not truly liberal. Just like Trumpists are not true conservatives. Both are more similar to fascists.
+4
Level 67
Oct 7, 2019
I agree with pretty much everything you said, especially that the social sciences are going totally off the rails. But I take serious umbrage with this notion that academics and education are mere instruments of liberal propaganda (I know that was ctleng's point, not yours). It's nothing but a smear that so-called conservatives use to wish away inconvenient information that has been vetted and thoroughly researched by experts. I have finally come around in the last six months to the reality that the new left is a madhouse, which is depressing as hell, but that does not bear on the fact that professors generally are credible and reliable sources of information on complicated issues.
+5
Level 72
Nov 24, 2021
You've never actually been to college, have you? lol. That's not true at all. I never had a single professor even talk about politics, outside of the one political science class I took. Even that class was pretty unbiased and included a lot of healthy debate from both sides. And I went to school in the southern US. Nobody is brainwashing kids in college. Kids are taught to think a little more critically, and are exposed to topics they normally wouldn't be exposed to. They read more, think more, and then begin to see the world a bit differently. Because that's what happens when you explore ideas and learn about different people, places, and historical events: you grow and change.
+2
Level 68
Dec 10, 2021
I don't know what college you went to (or if you went to college), but the university I went to went out of its way to have students think for themselves, especially when we got into the 300-500 level courses. Virtually every class involved the professor putting a topic out there, and the class (politely) sharing their thoughts/opinions on the matter. Most of my professors allowed us to think for ourselves, and never made us agree to his/her agenda. There was only one that wanted us to think her way. Even the girls in class agreed she was a staunch feminist.
+1
Level 45
Dec 11, 2021
Well, seeing as kalbahamut has a more EDUCATED opinion (while yours is just going against everything kal has said), I would think that a college degree would not matter. Plus, you seem to want to justify your opinion with "lol".
+4
Level 56
Dec 3, 2017
Interesting corolation between the states that are ‘most educated’ and the states that voted for Hillary Clinton...
+7
Level 45
Dec 3, 2017
Democratic support correlates with college degrees. College students are far more likely to vote for Clinton.
+5
Level 76
Oct 3, 2019
correlation*
+3
Level 45
Dec 3, 2017
My Colorado teacher taught me that we were all fish in the beginning, then a couple of fish had a baby and that baby was different so it got to live and then that fish crawled out of the ocean with its mutant fish hands and made a frog squirrel that then had a baby and made a monkey fish frog and then that made me.

So happy to be from the 2nd best educated state :)

+9
Level 56
Dec 3, 2017
I want what he's smoking
+1
Level 29
Dec 10, 2021
Cool sum up of the evolution process actually.
+1
Level 87
Dec 11, 2021
So there you go. You're the offspring of five monkeys having a baby with a fish squirrel. Congratulations.
+1
Level 68
Dec 3, 2017
Got all except NJ. I did not see that one coming after living in Philadelphia 10 years.
+1
Level 37
Dec 3, 2017
COLORADO!
+6
Level 82
Dec 4, 2017
Of course... everyone had to make this into a political debate. I go here to take entertaining quizzes and get away from the turmoil and politics seen elsewhere. Ugh
+9
Level 54
Jan 1, 2018
Lots of Republican excuse making in the comment sections for this and the quiz for the 10 least educated states.
+7
Level ∞
Jun 15, 2018
If you want a different perspective, check out the people bashing Democrats on this quiz. In both this quiz and the other quiz, the criticism is unfair. You can't reduce complex socioeconomic circumstances to whatever political party happens to be in charge.
+3
Level 63
Aug 26, 2019
What’s ironic is that I just did the “highest murder rate” quiz and it was mostly red states. Whereas the “most educated” are blue states. We’ll evolve someday...
+7
Level ∞
Sep 26, 2019
One thing that never seems to change is that people need someone in another group to blame.
+6
Level 84
Oct 3, 2019
I'm on board with blaming the Belgians
+3
Level 74
Mar 8, 2021
The Flemish-speaking Belgians or the French-speaking Belgians?
+2
Level 37
Jun 15, 2018
We have gone from a system which focused on "Liberal Arts" during the first years of University (concentrating on our major in the final years) to a system that bombards us with our chosen major (as if indeed, we can seriously commit to one at the age of 17 or 18) from the moment we walk into our first college "orientation". As a result, we have spawned a generation of college graduates who, rather than having an appreciation of the Arts and Literature know everything there is to know of a narrow field (their major course of study) and nothing about anything else!. Progress? or the dumbing down of a nation?
+1
Level ∞
Jun 15, 2018
Don't worry, it doesn't matter what students study in college, since college students barely study and don't learn. I am inclined to agree with people who say that most universities are diploma mills. But that's okay. College is still a fun and fulfilling experience for those who have the privilege of attending. It also allows employers to choose people who they know are capable of jumping through hoops and living independently.
+1
Level 77
Oct 3, 2019
We have the same kind of "progress" in Europe.
+1
Level 75
Oct 3, 2019
@divantilya, I'm curious as to what you mean. Every university around me, including large state schools with over 20,000 students, make all students take a core curriculum regardless of major. The core curriculum is liberal arts but is ideally spread out over four years with basic classes for the major in the first two and more intensive major classes in the last two. I was told that it was done this way so that the last two years aren't all classes in one subject so students continually think in different ways throughout their time in college.
+1
Level 51
Sep 4, 2018
Quite surprised by Colorado
+1
Level 40
May 26, 2022
why
+1
Level 76
Jan 12, 2019
Whatever happened to R.I.?
+2
Level 78
Oct 3, 2019
The PawSox decided to move to Worcester and R.I. closed.
+1
Level 48
Apr 28, 2019
with this quiz and the median income quiz, I'm getting a distinct feeling that the beltway has an influence on why Virginia and Maryland always seem to do better than one would otherwise presume.
+1
Level ∞
Oct 3, 2019
I think you're right. The US government has a gigantic budget, of which a disproportionate amount is spent in the DC area.
+3
Level ∞
Oct 3, 2019
Incoming rant... I personally am of the opinion that we should move as many government jobs out of Washington DC as possible. Money goes a lot further in Kansas or Alabama than in does in DC. Not only would moving jobs save money, but it could bring needed opportunities to underdeveloped parts of the country. It's sad how brain-drain has deprived many states of their most educated citizens. It's time to reverse the flow and send money and high-paying jobs back to the interior of the country.
+1
Level 75
Oct 3, 2019
@Quizmaster, wouldn't that lead to more inefficiency since the government would be spread out over a greater area? I know the government is already incredibly inefficient but if one agency was in Topeka, one in Cleveland, one in DC, and one in Oakland, wouldn't the inefficiency go up? Also, wouldn't it cost a lot more to operate the government since new facilities would have to be built and everything would be spread apart? And, each time Congress wanted to have a hearing we'd have to fly people across the country and back instead of across a city. I agree that the interior is neglected but would moving the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs to Omaha really help Nebraska or would it create more gridlock?
+2
Level 70
Oct 3, 2019
What's up with Colorado? Most of these states are Northeast or mid-Atlantic and then suddenly you have a mountain state
+2
Level 57
Oct 3, 2019
They misspelled "indoctrination".
+1
Level 55
Dec 10, 2021
cringe
+2
Level 68
Dec 10, 2021
No that's the "States that are most religious" quiz
+1
Level 59
Oct 3, 2019
Only missed Colorado and Minnesota
+1
Level 78
Oct 4, 2019
Suprised Rhode Island was the lone missing New England state
+2
Level 45
Oct 15, 2021
Don't erase Maine like that!
+1
Level 49
Apr 18, 2021
I am from New Jersey, and I was sort of surprised by it being 4th...
+1
Level 45
Dec 10, 2021
Washington State reppin' the West Coast!
+1
Level 66
Dec 10, 2021
Got all ten with 35 second left :)
+1
Level 68
Dec 10, 2021
I thought there would be an outlier or two on here, but I'm not surprised with these answers in the least.
+1
Level 63
Dec 13, 2021
Me before opening the quiz: "Wow, I am guessing the large portion of the comments for this one will be just short of a dumpster fire".

Me after opening the quiz: "Wow, a large portion of the comments for this one are just short of a dumpster fire."

+1
Level 40
Sep 21, 2022
Number oneee