Chapter 8: State Indicators

Higher Education

Select Indicator:

Quartiles | Findings | Description

Bachelor's degrees conferred per 1,000 18–24 years old: 2003

Bachelor's degrees conferred per 1,000 18–24 years old: 2003

Bachelor's Degrees Conferred per 1,000 18–24 years old: 2003.


Bachelor’s degrees conferred per 1,000 individuals 18–24 years old: 2003*

1st Quartile
2nd Quartile
3rd Quartile
4th Quartile
Delaware Arizona Alabama Alaska
District of Columbia Colorado Illinois Arkansas
Iowa Connecticut Kentucky California
Massachusetts Indiana Louisiana Florida
Missouri Kansas Maryland Georgia
Nebraska Maine New Jersey Hawaii
New Hampshire Michigan North Carolina Idaho
New York Minnesota Oklahoma Mississippi
North Dakota Montana Oregon Nevada
Pennsylvania Ohio South Carolina New Mexico
Rhode Island South Dakota Tennessee Texas
Utah West Virginia Virginia 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, various years; and U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division. See table 8-13.

Top of page.Top of page


  • In 2003, 1.34 million bachelor's degrees were conferred nationally in all fields, up from 1.17 million in 1993.

  • Over the past decade, the number of bachelor's degrees awarded in the United States has remained essentially constant relative to the size of the 18–24-year-old population.

  • Across the United States, approximately bachelor's degrees were conferred per 1,000 18–24-year-olds, ranging from about 20 to 82 across the states; the District of Columbia exceeded 137 (an outlier reflecting a large concentration of academic institutions relative to the size of the resident population).

Top of page.Top of page


Earning a bachelor's degree gives people greater opportunities to work in higher-paying jobs than are generally available to those with less education; it also prepares them for advanced education. In addition, the capacity to produce degrees generates resources for the state. 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 students who are pursuing an undergraduate degree.

A high value for this indicator may suggest the successful provision of educational opportunity at this level. Student and graduate mobility after graduation, however, may make this indicator less meaningful in predicting the qualifications of a state's future workforce. The indicator's value may also be high when a higher education system draws a large percentage of out-of-state students, a situation that sometimes occurs in states with small resident populations and the District of Columbia.

Top of page.Top of page
National Science Board.