With the cost of college tuition at an all time high, some may wonder if it is even worth it to invest the time and money it takes to earn a four-year degree. In state tuition at a state school is, on average, more than five times as expensive as it was in 1990 — which could put a huge financial burden on students and their families.
Still, a college education can be incredibly beneficial. The right degree from a good school can lead to many more and higher paying job opportunities otherwise unavailable to less educated workers.
> Most educated city: Champaign-Urbana
> Pct. of adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 42.3%
> Median household income: $50,564
> Unemployment rate: 4.2%
> Number of postsecondary institutions: 5
Champaign-Urbana is Illinois’ most educated city as 42.3% of its adult residents have earned a four-year degree. It narrowly beat out last year’s top ranked city, Bloomington, which finished one spot behind Champaign-Urbana with a 42.2% bachelor’s degree attainment rate.
Champaign-Urbana is home to the University of Illinois. The state’s flagship university has more than 47,000 students enrolled. College educated adults are less likely to face serious financial difficulties and Urbana-Champaign has the lowest food stamp or SNAP benefit recipiency rate among all of Illinois’ metro areas.
24/7 Wall St. reviewed data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2016 American Community Survey to identify the most educated city in each state. Nationwide, 31.3% of American adults have earned a bachelor’s degree. However, college attainment rates vary greatly by state — from 42.7% of adults in Massachusetts to 20.8% in West Virginia. As a result, the best educated city in some states are home to a lower concentration of college educated adults than the U.S. as whole. In other cities on this list, over half of all adults have a bachelor’s degree or higher.