Chapter 8: State Indicators


Select Indicator:

Quartiles | Findings | Description

Bachelor's degree holders as share of workforce: 2004

Bachelor's degree holders as share of workforce: 2004

Bachelor's Degree Holders as Share of Workforce: 2004.


Bachelor's degree holders as share of workforce: 2004*

1st Quartile
2nd Quartile
3rd Quartile
4th Quartile
California Arizona Alabama Arkansas
Colorado Delaware Alaska Idaho
Connecticut Florida Kentucky Indiana
District of Columbia Georgia Louisiana Iowa
Maryland Hawaii Maine Mississippi
Massachusetts Illinois Michigan Nebraska
Minnesota Kansas Montana North Dakota
New Hampshire Missouri Nevada Oklahoma
New Jersey Oregon New Mexico South Dakota
New York Pennsylvania North Carolina West Virginia
Vermont Rhode Island Ohio Wyoming
Virginia Tennessee South Carolina  
Washington Utah Texas  

*States in alphabetical order, not data order.

SOURCES: U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division, Education and Social Stratification Branch, Educational Attainment in the United States; and U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics. See table 8-20.

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  • In 2004, 51.8 million individuals held bachelor’s degrees in the United States, up from 36.5 million in 1994.

  • Nationwide, the percentage of the workforce with at least a bachelor’s degree rose from 29.5% in 1994 to 37.2% in 2004. The proportion of the workforce with a bachelor’s degree increased considerably in many states. This may reflect a replacement of older cohorts of workers with younger, more-educated ones. It may also indicate the restructuring of state economies to emphasize work that requires more education or credentialism.

  • The geographic distribution of bachelor’s degree holders in the workforce bears little resemblance to any of the degree-production indicators, which attests to the considerable mobility of the college-educated population in the United States.

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The proportion of a state’s workers with bachelor’s, graduate, and professional degrees is an indicator of the educational and skill levels of its workforce. These workers have a clear advantage over less-educated workers in terms of expected lifetime earnings. A high value for this indicator denotes that a state has a large percentage of workers who completed an undergraduate education.

Degree data, based on the U.S. Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey (CPS), are limited to individuals who are age 25 years and 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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National Science Board.