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Chapter 8. State Indicators

Workforce

Bachelor's degree holders potentially in the workforce



Findings

  • In 2009, 48 million individuals between ages 25 and 64 held bachelor's degrees in the United States, up from 39 million in 2000. Nationwide, the ratio of bachelor's degree holders to the size of the workforce rose from 28.5% in 2000 to 34.6% in 2009. This ratio varied considerably among the states, ranging from 23.9% to 47.1% in 2009.
  • The value of this indicator increased in all jurisdictions between 2000 and 2009. This increase 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 a higher level of education or credentials.
  • In 2009, the jurisdictions in which the highest concentrations of bachelor's degree holders lived included the District of Columbia, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Maryland.


Description

The ratio of degree holders (bachelor's, graduate, or professional) to the population potentially available for work is an indicator of the concentration of individuals with higher education qualifications in a jurisdiction. This indicator does not imply that all degree holders are currently employed; rather, it indicates the educational level of the workforce if all degree holders were employed. Knowledge-intensive businesses seeking to relocate may be attracted to states with high values on this indicator. Workers with at least a bachelor's degree have a clear advantage over less-educated workers in expected lifetime earnings.

Estimates of degree data are provided by the U.S. Census Bureau and are limited to individuals 25–64 years old, the age range most representative of a jurisdiction's workforce. Individuals younger than age 25 are considered to be in the process of completing their education. Individuals older than 64 are considered to be largely retired, so their educational attainment would have limited applicability to the quality of the workforce. Employed workforce data are Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates of employed civilians based on Local Area Unemployment Statistics. Estimates for states with smaller populations are generally less precise than estimates for states with larger populations.

Data Table

Table 8-32
Bachelor's degree holders potentially in the workforce, by state: 2000, 2005, and 2009
 
  Bachelor's degree holders 25–64 years old   Employed workforce   Bachelor's degree holders/workforce (%)
State 2000 2005 2009   2000 2005 2009   2000 2005 2009
 
United States 39,078,598 44,972,214 48,338,792   136,955,714 141,077,688 139,594,700   28.5 31.9 34.6
Alabama 479,734 549,086 583,697   2,067,147 2,051,893 1,959,849   23.2 26.8 29.8
Alaska 87,739 96,854 102,828   299,324 320,590 330,597   29.3 30.2 31.1
Arizona 638,515 781,932 886,445   2,404,916 2,724,859 2,851,063   26.6 28.7 31.1
Arkansas 247,079 287,058 300,180   1,207,352 1,270,930 1,256,136   20.5 22.6 23.9
California 4,960,210 5,732,017 6,060,404   16,024,341 16,592,204 16,141,519   31.0 34.5 37.5
Colorado 819,906 936,007 1,030,750   2,300,192 2,455,773 2,501,834   35.6 38.1 41.2
Connecticut 633,867 707,700 720,251   1,697,670 1,718,608 1,730,053   37.3 41.2 41.6
Delaware 111,260 131,287 142,848   402,777 417,196 400,004   27.6 31.5 35.7
District of Columbia 133,155 150,461 175,217   291,916 298,611 300,011   45.6 50.4 58.4
Florida 1,968,126 2,398,022 2,556,593   7,569,406 8,305,281 8,209,092   26.0 28.9 31.1
Georgia 1,148,814 1,394,550 1,522,467   4,095,362 4,375,178 4,302,039   28.1 31.9 35.4
Hawaii 184,130 200,132 219,868   584,858 609,835 588,662   31.5 32.8 37.4
Idaho 149,622 178,690 194,255   632,451 695,428 693,045   23.7 25.7 28.0
Illinois 1,876,455 2,113,824 2,274,031   6,176,837 6,033,421 5,927,804   30.4 35.0 38.4
Indiana 672,835 745,940 821,279   3,052,719 3,032,108 2,851,776   22.0 24.6 28.8
Iowa 351,922 404,729 430,363   1,557,081 1,557,545 1,571,691   22.6 26.0 27.4
Kansas 385,924 425,214 458,499   1,351,988 1,390,292 1,401,609   28.5 30.6 32.7
Kentucky 402,094 467,998 528,477   1,866,348 1,875,512 1,857,576   21.5 25.0 28.4
Louisiana 453,353 496,071 531,693   1,930,662 1,935,850 1,923,739   23.5 25.6 27.6
Maine 170,334 193,647 205,731   650,385 658,507 641,189   26.2 29.4 32.1
Maryland 979,588 1,095,665 1,172,521   2,711,382 2,825,040 2,786,271   36.1 38.8 42.1
Massachusetts 1,266,113 1,387,065 1,502,257   3,273,281 3,219,717 3,190,462   38.7 43.1 47.1
Michigan 1,242,388 1,407,669 1,403,052   4,953,421 4,717,188 4,210,871   25.1 29.8 33.3
Minnesota 783,613 906,335 959,272   2,720,492 2,756,709 2,712,250   28.8 32.9 35.4
Mississippi 256,581 293,533 310,187   1,239,859 1,219,135 1,170,719   20.7 24.1 26.5
Missouri 695,491 792,737 860,322   2,875,336 2,849,708 2,768,144   24.2 27.8 31.1
Montana 124,462 139,593 148,144   446,552 463,251 465,220   27.9 30.1 31.8
Nebraska 230,857 267,867 277,140   923,198 935,447 934,161   25.0 28.6 29.7
Nevada 206,361 272,492 315,597   1,015,221 1,173,425 1,184,431   20.3 23.2 26.6
New Hampshire 207,431 243,698 246,364   675,541 696,765 698,317   30.7 35.0 35.3
New Jersey 1,510,429 1,734,942 1,785,522   4,130,310 4,207,738 4,116,398   36.6 41.2 43.4
New Mexico 226,334 252,804 263,798   810,024 866,349 876,218   27.9 29.2 30.1
New York 3,031,927 3,460,430 3,718,473   8,751,441 8,947,069 8,864,298   34.6 38.7 41.9
North Carolina 1,044,025 1,229,917 1,409,863   3,969,235 4,123,857 4,064,521   26.3 29.8 34.7
North Dakota 80,545 95,520 93,818   335,780 343,625 353,008   24.0 27.8 26.6
Ohio 1,375,311 1,521,816 1,612,549   5,573,154 5,537,419 5,334,774   24.7 27.5 30.2
Oklahoma 383,381 431,778 455,513   1,609,522 1,628,655 1,636,917   23.8 26.5 27.8
Oregon 488,862 564,786 636,155   1,716,954 1,740,990 1,759,757   28.5 32.4 36.2
Pennsylvania 1,618,658 1,842,351 1,954,078   5,830,902 5,958,238 5,869,594   27.8 30.9 33.3
Rhode Island 156,862 181,553 187,708   520,758 532,961 504,828   30.1 34.1 37.2
South Carolina 454,656 534,821 613,174   1,917,365 1,922,367 1,928,110   23.7 27.8 31.8
South Dakota 89,855 104,555 110,431   397,678 413,819 421,961   22.6 25.3 26.2
Tennessee 649,844 750,100 843,026   2,756,498 2,778,489 2,734,302   23.6 27.0 30.8
Texas 2,646,909 3,062,665 3,405,108   9,896,002 10,551,547 11,006,179   26.7 29.0 30.9
Utah 276,360 339,337 387,625   1,097,915 1,230,451 1,285,134   25.2 27.6 30.2
Vermont 103,476 118,184 116,812   326,742 336,583 335,328   31.7 35.1 34.8
Virginia 1,232,454 1,438,181 1,537,471   3,502,524 3,783,813 3,895,448   35.2 38.0 39.5
Washington 932,352 1,069,031 1,172,377   2,898,677 3,075,972 3,205,644   32.2 34.8 36.6
West Virginia 157,883 181,476 188,924   764,649 763,696 735,130   20.6 23.8 25.7
Wisconsin 690,065 791,966 834,930   2,894,884 2,890,117 2,829,348   23.8 27.4 29.5
Wyoming 60,451 68,128 70,705   256,685 267,927 277,669   23.6 25.4 25.5
                       
Puerto Rico 378,586 454,714 495,726   1,162,153 1,250,335 1,126,992   32.6 36.4 44.0
 

NOTES: Bachelor's degree holders include those who completed a bachelor's or higher degree. Workforce represents employed component of civilian labor force and reported as annual data not seasonally adjusted.

SOURCES: Census Bureau, 2000 Decennial Census and American Community Survey (various years); Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics.

Science and Engineering Indicators 2012

Source Data

State Data Tool

The state data tool allows interactive exploration of the 58 indicators in this chapter. Users have the ability to choose and explore a single indicator in-depth, compare multiple indicators for preselected groups, customize their own graphics, or download data tables. Click the button below to get started.