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This indicator represents the percentage of a state’s labor force that has earned at least a 4-year undergraduate degree. High values indicate a higher concentration of individuals with higher education qualifications in a state. 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 an advantage over less-educated workers in expected lifetime earnings.

Estimates of state labor forces and educational attainment have been developed by the U.S. Census Bureau. Data are derived from the American Community Survey (ACS), the largest household survey in the United States, with a sample size of about 3.5 million addresses. The ACS collects information on an annual basis and assigns workers to a state based on where they live. Bachelor’s degree holders include those with degrees awarded by both public and private institutions and in S&E and non-S&E fields.

Because these values are estimates, small differences in the values of the indicator between states or across time are generally not meaningful.

Data source: U.S. Census Bureau, special tabulations of the American Community Survey.

  • 1st Quartile

    35.8%63.2%
  • 2nd Quartile

    31.1%35.4%
  • 3rd Quartile

    29.0%30.4%
  • 4th Quartile

    22.6%28.4%
  • No data

Footnote

NOTES: The national labor force total for the United States includes Puerto Rico.

SOURCE: U.S. Census Bureau, special tabulations of the American Community Survey (various years), data as of December 2017.

Recommended Citation: National Science Board. 2018. “Bachelor's Degree Holders in the Labor Force.” Science and Engineering Indicators 2018, State Indicators. Alexandria, VA: National Science Foundation (NSB-2018-1). https://www.nsf.gov/statistics/state-indicators/indicator/bachelors-degree-holders-in-labor-force

Last updated: January 18, 2018