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Chapter 8. State Indicators

Workforce

Bachelor’s Degree Holders Potentially in the Workforce



Findings

  • In 2011, nearly 50 million individuals between ages 25 and 64 held bachelor’s degrees in the United States, up from nearly 41 million in 2001.
  • Nationwide, the ratio of bachelor’s degree holders to the size of the workforce rose from 29.6% in 2001 to 35.4% in 2011. This ratio varied considerably among the states, ranging from 26.1% to 47.2% in 2011.
  • The value of this indicator increased in all jurisdictions, except Alaska, between 2001 and 2011. 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 2011, the jurisdictions in which the highest concentrations of bachelor’s degree holders lived included the District of Columbia, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Colorado, 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 8-33
Bachelor’s degree holders potentially in the workforce, by state: 2001, 2006, and 2011
 
Bachelor’s degree
holders 25–64 years old
Employed workforce Bachelor’s degree
holders/employed
workforce (%)
State 2001 2006 2011 2001 2006 2011 2001 2006 2011
 
United States 40,527,497 45,935,309 49,761,556 137,107,779 143,729,350 140,695,662 29.6 32.0 35.4
Alabama 476,157 550,302 593,859 2,034,909 2,098,462 1,992,522 23.4 26.2 29.8
Alaska 89,504 102,153 105,780 301,694 326,109 337,796 29.7 31.3 31.3
Arizona 621,567 834,211 881,399 2,453,453 2,836,638 2,761,984 25.3 29.4 31.9
Arkansas 260,535 289,510 326,754 1,194,024 1,286,887 1,251,877 21.8 22.5 26.1
California 5,140,460 5,788,525 6,209,917 16,220,033 16,821,266 16,237,286 31.7 34.4 38.2
Colorado 851,265 949,265 1,067,811 2,303,494 2,541,828 2,490,004 37.0 37.3 42.9
Connecticut 656,272 693,564 740,397 1,700,046 1,745,993 1,732,807 38.6 39.7 42.7
Delaware 111,152 131,601 143,550 404,135 424,618 407,772 27.5 31.0 35.2
District of Columbia 141,159 160,332 197,942 286,649 303,791 312,859 49.2 52.8 63.3
Florida 2,086,928 2,516,214 2,657,913 7,624,718 8,584,095 8,322,237 27.4 29.3 31.9
Georgia 1,144,463 1,426,071 1,524,738 4,112,868 4,500,150 4,295,113 27.8 31.7 35.5
Hawaii 180,610 218,941 221,769 589,216 617,807 614,824 30.7 35.4 36.1
Idaho 152,726 184,486 210,656 644,816 718,077 702,920 23.7 25.7 30.0
Illinois 1,987,145 2,143,825 2,307,808 6,113,536 6,225,095 5,942,809 32.5 34.4 38.8
Indiana 707,529 782,232 843,402 3,020,985 3,080,047 2,874,722 23.4 25.4 29.3
Iowa 368,722 408,648 449,951 1,568,638 1,595,136 1,562,156 23.5 25.6 28.8
Kansas 407,954 440,261 474,072 1,347,715 1,403,938 1,401,055 30.3 31.4 33.8
Kentucky 410,170 495,800 529,836 1,852,056 1,904,467 1,875,447 22.1 26.0 28.3
Louisiana 453,105 477,352 528,592 1,922,110 1,900,240 1,919,021 23.6 25.1 27.5
Maine 171,041 199,868 217,867 650,699 665,856 649,312 26.3 30.0 33.6
Maryland 1,015,855 1,144,963 1,228,462 2,712,268 2,892,733 2,868,191 37.5 39.6 42.8
Massachusetts 1,350,105 1,423,262 1,519,049 3,275,343 3,255,504 3,216,160 41.2 43.7 47.2
Michigan 1,330,224 1,427,656 1,422,628 4,876,338 4,722,716 4,189,792 27.3 30.2 34.0
Minnesota 822,940 914,823 994,234 2,755,808 2,774,524 2,777,285 29.9 33.0 35.8
Mississippi 284,057 295,278 317,872 1,229,884 1,199,871 1,197,641 23.1 24.6 26.5
Missouri 731,969 818,224 889,754 2,867,853 2,889,461 2,767,043 25.5 28.3 32.2
Montana 127,026 146,640 155,461 447,827 476,412 466,372 28.4 30.8 33.3
Nebraska 242,112 271,596 287,925 925,783 943,176 961,786 26.2 28.8 29.9
Nevada 214,614 292,151 329,238 1,042,182 1,222,277 1,207,799 20.6 23.9 27.3
New Hampshire 215,907 248,086 258,118 680,706 708,748 697,383 31.7 35.0 37.0
New Jersey 1,644,820 1,745,454 1,835,382 4,117,543 4,257,899 4,120,017 39.9 41.0 44.5
New Mexico 227,129 261,942 274,058 821,003 886,708 862,043 27.7 29.5 31.8
New York 3,054,065 3,493,031 3,725,582 8,743,924 9,062,464 8,740,642 34.9 38.5 42.6
North Carolina 1,043,271 1,265,162 1,461,123 3,929,977 4,261,325 4,183,052 26.5 29.7 34.9
North Dakota 85,926 92,568 103,117 336,228 349,368 368,677 25.6 26.5 28.0
Ohio 1,423,694 1,528,942 1,623,724 5,566,735 5,602,764 5,303,655 25.6 27.3 30.6
Oklahoma 379,436 433,967 490,304 1,614,627 1,650,070 1,678,953 23.5 26.3 29.2
Oregon 497,208 587,174 629,810 1,711,041 1,792,039 1,785,400 29.1 32.8 35.3
Pennsylvania 1,676,416 1,863,711 2,006,801 5,874,153 6,021,084 5,892,519 28.5 31.0 34.1
Rhode Island 167,178 182,749 188,849 520,677 543,973 499,481 32.1 33.6 37.8
South Carolina 495,647 546,986 607,286 1,834,871 1,970,912 1,941,654 27.0 27.8 31.3
South Dakota 98,686 108,994 116,560 400,352 421,799 422,696 24.6 25.8 27.6
Tennessee 676,912 765,687 863,852 2,728,523 2,852,509 2,828,617 24.8 26.8 30.5
Texas 2,714,923 3,162,391 3,660,238 9,991,920 10,757,510 11,493,519 27.2 29.4 31.8
Utah 266,153 354,651 410,367 1,108,547 1,285,389 1,254,151 24.0 27.6 32.7
Vermont 107,928 118,680 126,695 330,099 343,149 338,632 32.7 34.6 37.4
Virginia 1,292,274 1,467,254 1,640,903 3,537,719 3,862,508 3,928,267 36.5 38.0 41.8
Washington 988,658 1,123,956 1,215,053 2,863,705 3,155,384 3,161,818 34.5 35.6 38.4
West Virginia 156,241 179,015 202,206 758,904 777,210 740,175 20.6 23.0 27.3
Wisconsin 714,317 812,662 865,610 2,897,937 2,932,482 2,832,826 24.6 27.7 30.6
Wyoming 63,342 64,493 77,282 259,508 276,882 284,893 24.4 23.3 27.1
 
Puerto Rico NA 465,722 498,515 1,128,704 1,270,693 1,032,765 NA 36.7 48.3
 

NA = not available.

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

SOURCES: Census Bureau, 2000 and 2010 Decennial Censuses, and American Community Survey (various years); Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics (various years).

Science and Engineering Indicators 2014


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.

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