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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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Quartiles | Findings | Description

Bachelor's degree-holders as share of workforce: 2000 Puerto Rico: NA District of Columbia: 59.7% Maryland: 46.8% Delaware: 37.7% New Hampshire: 39.1% Massachusetts: 45.3% New Jersey: 45.0% Alaska: 32.9% Alabama: 33.0% Arizona: 33.4% Arkansas: 25.5% California: 36.0% Colorado: 43.2% Connecticut: 44.5% Florida: 37.2% Georgia: 31.5% Idaho: 26.2% Illinois: 37.0% Indiana: 31.9% Iowa: 26.9% Kansas: 37.9% Kentucky: 30.5% Louisiana: 31.8% Maine: 33.2% Michigan: 31.7% Minnesota: 35.7% Mississippi: 30.3% Missouri: 33.6% Montana: 31.6% Nebraska: 31.1% Nevada: 28.3% New Mexico: 34.1% New York: 40.6% North Carolina: 29.6% North Dakota: 32.2% Ohio: 33.5% Oklahoma: 27.3% Oregon: 35.5% Pennsylvania: 36.1% Rhode Island: 39.9% South Carolina: 32.6% South Dakota: 28.4% Tennessee: 28.7% Hawaii: 38.4% Texas: 32.8% Utah: 29.4% Vermont: 38.7% Virginia: 45.0% Washington: 37.9% West Virginia: 25,8% Wisconsin: 30.4% Wyoming: 24.3%

Quartiles top

Quartile groups for bachelor's degree holders as share of workforce: 2002*
1st Quartile 2nd Quartile 3rd Quartile 4th Quartile
(59.7% - 37.9%) (37.9% - 33.2%) (33.0% - 30.4%) (30.3% - 24.3%)
Colorado Arizona Alabama Arkansas
Connecticut California Alaska Idaho
District of Columbia Delaware Georgia Iowa
Hawaii Florida Indiana Mississippi
Maryland Illinois Kentucky Nevada
Massachusetts Kansas Louisiana North Carolina
New Hampshire Maine Michigan Oklahoma
New Jersey Minnesota Montana South Dakota
New York Missouri Nebraska Tennessee
Rhode Island New Mexico North Dakota Utah
Vermont Ohio South Carolina West Virginia
Virginia Oregon Texas Wyoming
Washington Pennsylvania Wisconsin  
*States in alphabetical order, not data order.

SOURCES: U.S. Bureau of the Census, Population Division, Education and Stratification Branch, Educational Attainment in the United States; and U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics. See table 8-8.

Findings top

  • In 2002, there were 48.7 million bachelor's degree holders in the United States, up from 35.6 million in 1993.

  • The nationwide value of this indicator rose from 29.6 percent in 1993 to 35.6 percent in 2002, indicating a significant increase in the number and percentage of workers who completed a baccalaureate.

  • The proportion of the workforce with a bachelor's degree increased considerably in many states, possibly reflecting the states' attraction of younger cohorts of workers with relatively more college-educated people than older cohorts or a restructuring of their economies.

  • The geographic distribution of bachelor's degree holders in the workforce bears little resemblance to any of the degree-based indicators, attesting to the considerable mobility of the U.S. college-educated population.

Description top

Bachelor's degrees are considered an indicator of a well-educated workforce because of the clear advantage they provide over less educational attainment in terms of expected lifetime earnings. The indicator is expressed as the percentage of workers in a state's workforce who hold at least a bachelor's degree. A high value for this indicator denotes that the state has a large percentage of workers who completed an undergraduate education.

Degree data, based on the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey (CPS), are limited to individuals who are age 25 or older. Civilian workforce data are Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates based on CPS. Estimates for sparsely populated states and the District of Columbia may be imprecise because of their small representation in the survey samples.


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