Virginia Has the 6th Largest Proportion of College Graduates

College graduates tend to have higher lifetime earnings, more job opportunities, and better economic stability. The proportion of adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher has steadily increased over time, and according to Census Bureau data, currently stands at just over one-third. While the COVID-19 pandemic has caused many potential two-year college enrollees to rethink their plans and hold off on college, enrollment in four-year institutions has actually increased slightly.

The proportion of adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher increased by 13 percentage points since 1995 when less than one in four adults had a college degree. In 2014, women surpassed men in college degree attainment, and that gap has continued to widen since then. In 2019, 36.6% of adult women had college degrees compared to 35.4% of men. While overall enrollment in four-year institutions increased in 2020 compared to 2019, this increase was fueled solely by increases in female enrollment. The number of men who enrolled in four-year colleges fell by 1.2%.

At the state level, women have achieved higher levels of education than men everywhere but in Utah, where significantly more men hold at least a bachelor’s degree. While the male-female higher education gap is largely the norm across the U.S., the overall proportion of adults with college degrees varies widely. Massachusetts and Colorado claim the largest proportion of adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher, at 45.0% and 42.7%, respectively. Southern states tend to have lower levels of college-educated adults than other parts of the U.S. With just 22.3% and 21.1%, respectively, of adults having completed college, Mississippi and West Virginia have the lowest levels of educational attainment in the country.

The analysis found that in Virginia, almost 40% of adults age 25 and older have a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared to the national average of 33.1%. Out of all U.S. states, Virginia has the 6th largest proportion of college graduates.

For more information, a detailed methodology, and complete results, you can find the original report on HireAHelper’s website:

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