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Science and Engineering Indicators 2004
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Chapter 8:
Secondary Education
Higher Education
Financial Research and Development Inputs
R&D Outputs
Science and Technology in the Economy



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State Indicators

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Higher Education

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Quartiles | Findings | Description

Bachelor's degrees conferred per 1,000 18- to 24-year-olds: 2000 Puerto Rico: 37.7 District of Columbia: 104.5 Maryland: 48.5 Delaware: 61.3 New Hampshire: 75.2 Massachusetts: 73.0 New Jersey: 39.8 Alaska: 23.8 Alabama: 48.2 Arizona: 48.4 Arkansas: 35.9 California: 34.7 Colorado: 50.6 Connecticut: 53.6 Florida: 37.9 Georgia: 34.6 Idaho: 33.9 Illinois: 45.7 Indiana: 52.0 Iowa: 62.7 Kansas: 53.3 Kentucky: 38.9 Louisiana: 41.6 Maine: 54.6 Michigan: 48.7 Minnesota: 49.2 Mississippi: 35.3 Missouri: 55.9 Montana: 59.1 Nebraska: 61.7 Nevada: 75.2 New Mexico: 35.0 New York: 55.6 North Carolina: 43.7 North Dakota: 66.7 Ohio: 47.3 Oklahoma: 43.6 Oregon: 42.9 Pennsylvania: 60.6 Rhode Island: 80.6 South Carolina: 40.5 South Dakota: 61.3 Tennessee: 41.6 Texas: 34.5 Utah: 52.9 Vermont: 85.0 Virginia: 48.4 Washington: 42.8 West Virginia: 49.6 Wisconsin: 52.8 Hawaii Wyoming: 36.0

Quartiles top

Quartile groups for bachelor's degrees conferred per 1,000 18–24-year-olds: 2000*
1st Quartile 2nd Quartile 3rd Quartile 4th Quartile
(104.5 - 55.9) (55.6 - 48.4) (48.4 - 39.8) (38.9 - 22.6)
Delaware Colorado Alabama Alaska
District of Columbia Connecticut Arizona Arkansas
Iowa Indiana Hawaii California
Massachusetts Kansas Illinois Florida
Missouri Maine Louisiana Georgia
Montana Maryland New Jersey Idaho
Nebraska Michigan North Carolina Kentucky
New Hampshire Minnesota Ohio Mississippi
North Dakota New York Oklahoma Nevada
Pennsylvania Utah Oregon New Mexico
Rhode Island Virginia South Carolina Texas
South Dakota West Virginia Tennessee Wyoming
Vermont Wisconsin Washington  
*States in alphabetical order, not data order.

SOURCES: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System; and U.S. Bureau of the Census, Population Division. See table 8-4.

Findings top

  • In 2000, 1.24 million bachelor's degrees were conferred in all fields, up from 1.05 million in 1990.

  • This increase across the United States in 2000 translates to about 46 bachelor's degrees per 1,000 18–24-year-olds, ranging from about 23 to 85 across states; the District of Columbia exceeded 104 (an outlier reflecting special characteristics).

  • Over the decade, the number of bachelor's degrees awarded in the United States increased relative to the 18–24-year-old population, rising from 39 in 1990 to 46 by mid-decade, similar to the 2000 level.

  • The pattern for states in the top two quartiles is similar to those for mathematics and science performance of eighth graders.

Description top

Earning a bachelor's degree gives people a greater opportunity to work in higher paying jobs than is generally available to people with less education; it also prepares them for advanced education. The ratio of bachelor's degrees awarded to a state's 18–24-year-old population is a broad measure of a state's relative success in producing degrees at this level. The 18–24-year-old cohort was chosen to approximate the age range of most people pursuing an undergraduate degree.

A high value of this indicator may suggest the successful provision of educational opportunity at this level. The value may also be high when a higher education system draws many out-of-state students, which may particularly affect the results for some sparsely populated states and the District of Columbia.


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