California lands in bottom half of most educated states, new data suggests

While getting a good education does not guarantee higher income in the future, analysts have found a correlation between the two.

However, despite the large number of Golden State residents who rank among the richest people in the world (87 as of October 2023), a new study by WalletHub found that California’s educational opportunities don’t necessarily align with increased future income levels.

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WalletHub analyzed data from “key indicators of a well-educated population” across all 50 states including educational attainment, school quality and achievement gaps between genders and races to determine which parts of America are most and least educated.

The study found that California falls in the middle of the pack when it comes to overall education ranking, according to WalletHub, finishing 29th out of the 50 states despite having the eighth-highest quality of education in the nation.

California’s education attainment rating, however, is 37th best in America, WalletHub researchers found.

Highest on WalletHub’s list for most educated states was Massachusetts, where educational attainment and quality both rank first in the nation.

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On the other end of the spectrum, analysts concluded that West Virginia is the least educated state, with the worst educational attainment rank and the sixth-worst educational quality rank in the U.S.

WalletHub’s list of most educated states can be viewed in the table below:

Overall rank

State

Total weighted score

Educational attainment rank

Quality of education rank

1.

Massachusetts

82.32

1

1

2.

Vermont

76.30

3

6

3.

Maryland

75.97

4

5

4.

Connecticut

73.51

6

3

5.

Colorado

70.83

2

34

6.

Virginia

70.43

5

10

7.

New Jersey

69.97

10

4

8.

New Hampshire

68.32

7

15

9.

Minnesota

66.98

8

16

10.

Washington

64.27

9

25

11.

Utah

63.33

11

18

12.

Delaware

60.05

19

7

13.

Illinois

59.19

16

12

14.

Montana

58.30

13

31

15.

New York

58.29

18

14

16.

Rhode Island

57.77

21

9

17.

Oregon

57.44

12

43

18.

Hawaii

57.43

15

27

19.

Maine

56.51

14

37

20.

Wisconsin

54.84

25

13

21.

Florida

54.54

35

2

22.

North Carolina

52.80

28

17

23.

Kansas

52.18

17

48

24.

Nebraska

51.97

20

41

25.

North Dakota

51.69

24

38

26.

Pennsylvania

51.38

26

30

27.

Michigan

51.19

27

28

28.

Wyoming

50.87

23

48

29.

California

50.37

37

8

30.

Georgia

49.20

32

23

31.

Alaska

49.10

22

49

32.

Missouri

48.94

31

26

33.

Iowa

48.76

30

29

34.

South Dakota

48.48

34

24

35.

Ohio

48.33

36

20

36.

Arizona

46.02

33

40

37.

Idaho

45.97

29

45

38.

South Carolina

44.55

38

35

39.

Tennessee

43.38

40

19

40.

Indiana

43.32

41

11

41.

Texas

40.50

42

22

42.

New Mexico

37.12

39

50

43.

Kentucky

36.06

45

32

44.

Nevada

35.67

46

21

45.

Alabama

35.62

44

36

46.

Oklahoma

34.93

43

46

47.

Arkansas

31.03

47

33

48.

Louisiana

28.84

48

39

49.

Mississippi

25.72

49

47

50.

West Virginia

24.82

50

44

Additional research conducted in the same WalletHub study found that California has the lowest percentage of high school diploma holders in America but ranks in the top five for average university quality.

The full list of metrics used by WalletHub for the study can be found here.

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