National data

    Our nation confronts an urgent and growing need for talent, and higher education is the key to meeting that need. That’s why Lumina Foundation focuses all of its energy and resources on one goal, what we call Goal 2025. We want to ensure that, by the year 2025, 60 percent of Americans hold a college degree, certificate or other high-quality postsecondary credential.

    Each year in this report, we track the nation’s progress toward that goal, focusing mainly on the working-age population (ages 25-64). According to the most recent available data (2013), 40 percent of these working-age Americans have at least a two-year degree – an 0.6 percentage-point increase over the previous year’s rate of 39.4 percent. This increase is encouraging, as is a similar increase in higher education attainment among young adults (ages 25-34).

    Despite these increases, however, it is clear that our progress is far below the level needed to reach Goal 2025. Two issues must be addressed: The nation must 1.) accelerate the rate at which overall attainment increases, and 2.) close the significant, persistent gaps in postsecondary attainment among various segments of the population.

    The data in this report can help in addressing both of these issues.

    According to the 2013 Census figures, 33.6 percent of Alabama’s 2.5 million working-age adults (ages 25-64) hold a two- or four-year college degree, an increase from last year’s rate of 33.1 percent. The state’s rate of higher education attainment is below the national average of 40 percent.

    According to the 2013 Census figures, 36.5 percent of Alaska’s 397,000 working-age adults (ages 25-64) hold a two- or four-year college degree, a slight decrease from last year’s rate of 37 percent. The state’s rate of higher education attainment is below the national average of 40 percent.

    According to the 2013 Census figures, 36.9 percent of Arizona’s 3.3 million working-age adults (ages 25-64) hold a two- or four-year college degree, an increase from last year’s rate of 36.7 percent. The state’s rate of higher education attainment is below the national average of 40 percent.

    According to the 2013 Census figures, 28.8 percent of Arkansas’ 1.5 million working-age adults (ages 25-64) hold a two- or four-year college degree, a slight decrease from last year’s rate of 29.3 percent. The state’s rate of higher education attainment is well below the national average of 40 percent.

    According to the 2013 Census figures, 39.6 percent of California’s 20.4 million working-age adults (ages 25-64) hold a two- or four-year college degree, a slight decrease from last year’s rate of 39.7 percent. The state’s rate of higher education attainment is slightly below the national average of 40 percent.

    According to the 2013 Census figures, 47.6 percent of Colorado’s 2.9 million working-age adults (ages 25-64) hold a two- or four-year college degree, a slight increase from last year’s rate of 47.5 percent. The state’s rate of higher education attainment is above the national average of 40 percent.

    According to the 2013 Census figures, 47.8 percent of Connecticut’s 1.9 million working-age adults (ages 25-64) hold a two- or four-year college degree, an increase from last year’s rate of 47.5 percent. The state’s rate of higher education attainment is above the national average of 40 percent.

    According to the 2013 Census figures, 39.9 percent of Delaware’s 483,000 working-age adults (ages 25-64) hold a two- or four-year college degree, an increase from last year’s rate of 38.4 percent. The state’s rate of higher education attainment is below the national average of 40 percent.

    According to the 2013 Census figures, 38.6 percent of Florida’s 10 million working-age adults (ages 25-64) hold a two- or four-year college degree, an increase from last year’s rate of 38.1 percent. The state’s rate of higher education attainment is below the national average of 40 percent.

    According to the 2013 Census figures, 37.5 percent of Georgia’s 5.3 million working-age adults (ages 25-64) hold a two- or four-year college degree, an increase from last year’s rate of 37.4 percent. The state’s rate of higher education attainment is below the national average of 40 percent.

    According to the 2013 Census figures, 44.3 percent of Hawaii’s 740,000 working-age adults (ages 25-64) hold a two- or four-year college degree, an increase from last year’s rate of 42.6 percent. The state’s rate of higher education attainment is above the national average of 40 percent.

    According to the 2013 Census figures, 36.9 percent of Idaho’s 804,000 working-age adults (ages 25-64) hold a two- or four- year college degree, an increase from last year’s rate of 36.1 percent. The state’s rate of higher education attainment is below the national average of 40 percent.

    According to the 2013 Census figures, 43 percent of Illinois’ 6.9 million working-age adults (ages 25-64) hold a two- or four-year college degree, an increase from last year’s rate of 42.5 percent. The state’s rate of higher education attainment is above the national average of 40 percent.

    According to the 2013 Census figures, 34.7 percent of Indiana’s 3.4 million working-age adults (ages 25-64) hold a two- or four-year college degree, an increase from last year’s rate of 34.4 percent. The state’s rate of higher education attainment is below the national average of 40 percent.

    According to the 2013 Census figures, 41.8 percent of Iowa’s 1.6 million working-age adults (ages 25-64) hold a two- or four-year college degree, the same as last year’s rate. The state’s rate of higher education attainment is above the national average of 40 percent.

    According to the 2013 Census figures, 41.8 percent of Kansas’ 1.5 million working-age adults (ages 25-64) hold a two- or four-year college degree, an increase from last year’s rate of 41.3 percent. The state’s rate of higher education attainment is above the national average of 40 percent.

    According to the 2013 Census figures, 32.9 percent of Kentucky’s 2.3 million working-age adults (ages 25-64) hold a two- or four-year college degree, an increase from last year’s rate of 31.7 percent. The state’s rate of higher education attainment is below the national average of 40 percent.

    According to the 2013 Census figures, 29.6 percent of Louisiana’s 2.4 million working-age adults (ages 25-64) hold a two- or four-year college degree, an increase from last year’s rate of 29.1 percent. The state’s rate of higher education attainment is well below the national average of 40 percent.

    According to the 2013 Census figures, 39.9 percent of Maine’s 718,000 working-age adults (ages 25-64) hold a two- or four-year college degree, an increase from last year’s rate of 39 percent. The state’s rate of higher education attainment is below the national average of 40 percent.

    According to the 2013 Census figures, 46 percent of Maryland’s 3.2 million working-age adults (ages 25-64) hold a two- or four-year college degree, an increase from last year’s rate of 45.5 percent. The state’s rate of higher education attainment is above the national average of 40 percent.

    According to the 2013 Census figures, 51.5 percent of Massachusetts’ 3.6 million working-age adults (ages 25-64) hold a two- or four-year college degree, an increase from last year’s rate of 50.5 percent. The state’s rate of higher education attainment is well above the national average of 40 percent.

    According to the 2013 Census figures, 38.4 percent of Michigan’s 5.2 million working-age adults (ages 25-64) hold a two- or four-year college degree, an increase from last year’s rate of 37.4 percent. The state’s rate of higher education attainment is below the national average of 40 percent.

    According to the 2013 Census figures, 48.1 percent of Minnesota’s 2.9 million working-age adults (ages 25-64) hold a two- or four-year college degree, an increase from last year’s rate of 47.7 percent. The state’s rate of higher education attainment is above the national average of 40 percent.

    According to the 2013 Census figures, 30.5 percent of Mississippi’s 1.5 million working-age adults (ages 25-64) hold a two- or four-year college degree, a decrease from last year’s rate of 31.1 percent. The state’s rate of higher education attainment is below the national average of 40 percent.

    According to the 2013 Census figures, 37.6 percent of Missouri’s 3.1 million working-age adults (ages 25-64) hold a two- or four-year college degree, an increase from last year’s rate of 36.6 percent. The state’s rate of higher education attainment is below the national average of 40 percent.

    According to the 2013 Census figures, 39.0 percent of Montana’s 524,000 working-age adults (ages 25-64) hold a two- or four-year college degree, a decrease from last year’s rate of 39.8 percent. The state’s rate of higher education attainment is just below the national average of 40 percent.

    According to the 2013 Census figures, 43.2 percent of Nebraska’s 951,000 working-age adults (ages 25-64) hold a two- or four-year college degree, a slight increase from last year’s rate of 43 percent. The state’s rate of higher education attainment is above the national average of 40 percent.

    According to the 2013 Census figures, 31.1 percent of Nevada’s 1.5 million working-age adults (ages 25-64) hold a two- or four-year college degree, an increase from last year’s rate of 30.1 percent. The state’s rate of higher education attainment is below the national average of 40 percent.

    According to the 2013 Census figures, 46.4 percent of New Hampshire’s 722,000 working-age adults (ages 25-64) hold a two- or four-year college degree, a slight decrease from last year’s rate of 46.7 percent. The state’s rate of higher education attainment is above the national average of 40 percent.

    According to the 2013 Census figures, 46.5 percent of New Jersey’s 4.8 million working-age adults (ages 25-64) hold a two- or four-year college degree, an increase from last year’s rate of 45.8 percent. The state’s rate of higher education attainment is above the national average of 40 percent.

    According to the 2013 Census figures, 34.9 percent of New Mexico’s 1.1 million working-age adults (ages 25-64) hold a two- or four-year college degree, a slight decrease from last year’s rate of 35.1 percent. The state’s rate of higher education attainment is below the national average of 40 percent.

    According to the 2013 Census figures, 46 percent of New York’s 10.6 million working-age adults (ages 25-64) hold a two- or four-year college degree, an increase from last year’s rate of 45.1 percent. The state’s rate of higher education attainment is above the national average of 40 percent.

    According to the 2013 Census figures, 39.7 percent of North Carolina’s 5.2 million working-age adults (ages 25-64) hold a two- or four-year college degree, an increase from last year’s rate of 38.4 percent. The state’s rate of higher education attainment is below the national average of 40 percent.

    According to the 2013 Census figures, 45.8 percent of North Dakota’s 365,000 working-age adults (ages 25-64) hold a two- or four-year college degree, a slight increase from last year’s rate of 45.6 percent. The state’s rate of higher education attainment is above the national average of 40 percent.

    According to the 2013 Census figures, 37.5 percent of Ohio’s 6.1 million working-age adults (ages 25-64) hold a two- or four-year college degree, an increase from last year’s rate of 36.5 percent. The state’s rate of higher education attainment is below the national average of 40 percent.

    According to the 2013 Census figures, 32.7 percent of Oklahoma’s 2 million working-age adults (ages 25-64) hold a two- or four-year college degree, a slight decrease from last year’s rate of 32.9 percent. The state’s rate of higher education attainment is below the national average of 40 percent.

    According to the 2013 Census figures, 40.5 percent of Oregon’s 2.1 million working-age adults (ages 25-64) hold a two- or four-year college degree, an increase from last year’s rate of 39.8 percent. The state’s rate of higher education attainment is slightly above the national average of 40 percent.

    According to the 2013 Census figures, 40.5 percent of Pennsylvania’s 6.7 million working-age adults (ages 25-64) hold a two- or four-year college degree, an increase from last year’s rate of 39.7 percent. The state’s rate of higher education attainment is slightly above the national average of 40 percent.

    According to the 2013 Census figures, 43.8 percent of Rhode Island’s 557,000 working-age adults (ages 25-64) hold a two- or four-year college degree, an increase from last year’s rate of 43.2 percent. The state’s rate of higher education attainment is above the national average of 40 percent.

    According to the 2013 Census figures, 36.8 percent of South Carolina’s 2.5 million working-age adults (ages 25-64) hold a two- or four-year college degree, an increase from last year’s rate of 36.1 percent. The state’s rate of higher education attainment is below the national average of 40 percent.

    According to the 2013 Census figures, 41.9 percent of South Dakota’s 426,000 working-age adults (ages 25-64) hold a two- or four-year college degree, an increase from last year’s rate of 39.6 percent. The state’s rate of higher education attainment is above the national average of 40 percent.

    According to the 2013 Census figures, 33.8 percent of Tennessee’s 3.4 million working-age adults (ages 25-64) hold a two- or four-year college degree, an increase from last year’s rate of 33.3 percent. The state’s rate of higher education attainment is below the national average of 40 percent.

    According to the 2013 Census figures, 35.4 percent of Texas’ 13.7 million working-age adults (ages 25-64) hold a two- or four-year college degree, a slight increase from last year’s rate of 34.6 percent. The state’s rate of higher education attainment is below the national average of 40 percent.

    According to the 2013 Census figures, 41.6 percent of Utah’s 1.4 million working-age adults (ages 25-64) hold a two- or four-year college degree, a slight increase from last year’s rate of 41.4 percent. The state’s rate of higher education attainment is above the national average of 40 percent.

    According to the 2013 Census figures, 45.5 percent of Vermont’s 334,000 working-age adults (ages 25-64) hold a two- or four-year college degree, a decrease from last year’s rate of 47 percent. The state’s rate of higher education attainment is above the national average of 40 percent.

    According to the 2013 Census figures, 46.1 percent of Virginia’s 4.5 million working-age adults (ages 25-64) hold a two- or four-year college degree, a slight increase from last year’s rate of 45.3 percent. The state’s rate of higher education attainment is well above the national average of 40 percent.

    According to the 2013 Census figures, 43.8 percent of Washington’s 3.8 million working-age adults (ages 25-64) hold a two- or four-year college degree, an increase from last year’s rate of 42.8 percent. The state’s rate of higher education attainment is above the national average of 40 percent.

    According to the 2013 Census figures, 28.4 percent of West Virginia’s 974,000 working-age adults (ages 25-64) hold a two- or four-year college degree, an increase from last year’s rate of 27.8 percent. The state’s rate of higher education attainment is well below the national average of 40 percent.

    According to the 2013 Census figures, 41.1 percent of Wisconsin’s 3 million working-age adults (ages 25-64) hold a two- or four-year college degree, a slight increase from last year’s rate of 40.9 percent. The state’s rate of higher education attainment is above the national average of 40 percent.

    According to the 2013 Census figures, 39.4 percent of Wyoming’s 306,000 working-age adults (ages 25-64) hold a two- or four-year college degree, an increase from last year’s rate of 37 percent. The state’s rate of higher education attainment is below the national average of 40 percent.

    How can Alabama and other states increase attainment to the levels they need? Lumina has identified three steps that states can and should take to produce real increases in attainment:

    How can Alaska and other states increase attainment to the levels they need? Lumina has identified three steps that states can and should take to produce real increases in attainment:

    How can Arizona and other states increase attainment to the levels they need? Lumina has identified three steps that states can and should take to produce real increases in attainment:

    How can Arkansas and other states increase attainment to the levels they need? Lumina has identified three steps that states can and should take to produce real increases in attainment:

    How can California and other states increase attainment to the levels they need? Lumina has identified three steps that states can and should take to produce real increases in attainment:

    How can Colorado and other states increase attainment to the levels they need? Lumina has identified three steps that states can and should take to produce real increases in attainment:

    How can Connecticut and other states increase attainment to the levels they need? Lumina has identified three steps that states can and should take to produce real increases in attainment:

    How can Delaware and other states increase attainment to the levels they need? Lumina has identified three steps that states can and should take to produce real increases in attainment:

    How can Florida and other states increase attainment to the levels they need? Lumina has identified three steps that states can and should take to produce real increases in attainment:

    How can Georgia and other states increase attainment to the levels they need? Lumina has identified three steps that states can and should take to produce real increases in attainment:

    How can Hawaii and other states increase attainment to the levels they need? Lumina has identified three steps that states can and should take to produce real increases in attainment:

    How can Idaho and other states increase attainment to the levels they need? Lumina has identified three steps that states can and should take to produce real increases in attainment:

    How can Illinois and other states increase attainment to the levels they need? Lumina has identified three steps that states can and should take to produce real increases in attainment:

    How can Indiana and other states increase attainment to the levels they need? Lumina has identified three steps that states can and should take to produce real increases in attainment:

    How can Iowa and other states increase attainment to the levels they need? Lumina has identified three steps that states can and should take to produce real increases in attainment:

    How can Kansas and other states increase attainment to the levels they need? Lumina has identified three steps that states can and should take to produce real increases in attainment:

    How can Kentucky and other states increase attainment to the levels they need? Lumina has identified three steps that states can and should take to produce real increases in attainment:

    How can Louisiana and other states increase attainment to the levels they need? Lumina has identified three steps that states can and should take to produce real increases in attainment:

    How can Maine and other states increase attainment to the levels they need? Lumina has identified three steps that states can and should take to produce real increases in attainment:

    How can Maryland and other states increase attainment to the levels they need? Lumina has identified three steps that states can and should take to produce real increases in attainment:

    How can Massachusetts and other states increase attainment to the levels they need? Lumina has identified three steps that states can and should take to produce real increases in attainment:

    How can Michigan and other states increase attainment to the levels they need? Lumina has identified three steps that states can and should take to produce real increases in attainment:

    How can Minnesota and other states increase attainment to the levels they need? Lumina has identified three steps that states can and should take to produce real increases in attainment:

    How can Mississippi and other states increase attainment to the levels they need? Lumina has identified three steps that states can and should take to produce real increases in attainment:

    How can Missouri and other states increase attainment to the levels they need? Lumina has identified three steps that states can and should take to produce real increases in attainment:

    How can Montana and other states increase attainment to the levels they need? Lumina has identified three steps that states can and should take to produce real increases in attainment:

    How can Nebraska and other states increase attainment to the levels they need? Lumina has identified three steps that states can and should take to produce real increases in attainment:

    How can Nevada and other states increase attainment to the levels they need? Lumina has identified three steps that states can and should take to produce real increases in attainment:

    How can New Hampshire and other states increase attainment to the levels they need? Lumina has identified three steps that states can and should take to produce real increases in attainment:

    How can New Jersey and other states increase attainment to the levels they need? Lumina has identified three steps that states can and should take to produce real increases in attainment:

    How can New Mexico and other states increase attainment to the levels they need? Lumina has identified three steps that states can and should take to produce real increases in attainment:

    How can New York and other states increase attainment to the levels they need? Lumina has identified three steps that states can and should take to produce real increases in attainment:

    How can North Carolina and other states increase attainment to the levels they need? Lumina has identified three steps that states can and should take to produce real increases in attainment:

    How can North Dakota and other states increase attainment to the levels they need? Lumina has identified three steps that states can and should take to produce real increases in attainment:

    How can Ohio and other states increase attainment to the levels they need? Lumina has identified three steps that states can and should take to produce real increases in attainment:

    How can Oklahoma and other states increase attainment to the levels they need? Lumina has identified three steps that states can and should take to produce real increases in attainment:

    How can Oregon and other states increase attainment to the levels they need? Lumina has identified three steps that states can and should take to produce real increases in attainment:

    How can Pennsylvania and other states increase attainment to the levels they need? Lumina has identified three steps that states can and should take to produce real increases in attainment:

    How can Rhode Island and other states increase attainment to the levels they need? Lumina has identified three steps that states can and should take to produce real increases in attainment:

    How can South Carolina and other states increase attainment to the levels they need? Lumina has identified three steps that states can and should take to produce real increases in attainment:

    How can South Dakota and other states increase attainment to the levels they need? Lumina has identified three steps that states can and should take to produce real increases in attainment:

    How can Tennessee and other states increase attainment to the levels they need? Lumina has identified three steps that states can and should take to produce real increases in attainment:

    How can Texas and other states increase attainment to the levels they need? Lumina has identified three steps that states can and should take to produce real increases in attainment:

    How can Utah and other states increase attainment to the levels they need? Lumina has identified three steps that states can and should take to produce real increases in attainment:

    How can Vermont and other states increase attainment to the levels they need? Lumina has identified three steps that states can and should take to produce real increases in attainment:

    How can Virginia and other states increase attainment to the levels they need? Lumina has identified three steps that states can and should take to produce real increases in attainment:

    How can Washington and other states increase attainment to the levels they need? Lumina has identified three steps that states can and should take to produce real increases in attainment:

    How can West Virginia and other states increase attainment to the levels they need? Lumina has identified three steps that states can and should take to produce real increases in attainment:

    How can Wisconsin and other states increase attainment to the levels they need? Lumina has identified three steps that states can and should take to produce real increases in attainment:

    How can Wyoming and other states increase attainment to the levels they need? Lumina has identified three steps that states can and should take to produce real increases in attainment:

    1. Improve the quality of student outcomes in terms of completion, learning and employment.
    2. Align investments with state priorities and student needs.
    3. Create smarter pathways for students.

    More information on this agenda to increase attainment can be found at strategylabs.luminafoundation.org/higher-education-state-policy-agenda, including concrete action steps based on evidence and experience about what works in states.

    With eight of every 10 Americans now living in cities or suburbs, it is clear that the nation’s metropolitan regions need to be prime drivers in the Goal 2025 effort. Simply put, if we want to boost postsecondary attainment, we must look first and work hardest in those places with the most students.

    Just as important: The nation’s metro areas are well suited for this work. They are natural sites for the kind of collaborations that are necessary to boost student success – active coalitions of political, business, education, philanthropic and community-based leaders.

    To help with the effort in your metro region, begin here, with the data that tell the story of your specific area.

    Keeping with the trend of recent years, the higher education attainment rate of the young adult population – those between the ages of 25 and 34 – is on the rise. Latest figures have the rate at 41.6 percent, an increase of 0.7 percentage points over last year. This rate among young adults – our best leading indicator of future attainment rates – is heading in a positive direction.

    Still, this trend must be maintained – and progress accelerated – if we are to reach Goal 2025. That’s why continued focus on the young-adult population is vital. Every effort must be made to build a redesigned system of higher education – a system that can better serve all students, not just those on campus today, but those who will be learning tomorrow, in a variety of venues using all types of delivery models.

    College enrollment among United States residents, ages 18-53

    1. Bar 1: Total Enrollment
    2. Bar 2: Ages 18-24
    3. Bar 3: Ages 25-53
    4. Bar 4: Hispanics
    5. Bar 5: African Americans
    6. Bar 6: Native Americans
    7. Bar 7: Asians/ Pacific Islanders
    8. Bar 8: Whites
    Note: These percentages reflect the enrollment of non-degree-holding students, ages 18-53, at public and private, two-year and four-year postsecondary institutions.
    Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2013 American Community Survey One-Year Public Use Microdata Sample

    The trend in degree-attainment rates for United States residents
    (ages 25-64), by population group

    • Total
    • White
    • Black
    • Hispanic
    • Asian
    • Native American
    Source: U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey PUMS Files

    Percentage of adults (25-64) with at least an associate degree, by metropolitan region

    Download detailed mapDownload detailed map

    Click the column headings to sort accordingly

    Rank By
    Population
    Area Name Rate Population

    Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2011-13 Census 3-Year Estimates

    Note: This map denotes Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs). The term MSA refers to a large population nucleus, together with adjacent communities having a high degree of social and economic integration with that core. MSAs comprise one or more entire counties, except in New England, where cities and towns are the basic geographic units. The federal Office of Management and Budget defines MSAs for purposes of collecting, tabulating and publishing federal data. These definitions result from applying published standards to Census Bureau data.

    Degree attainment among young adults

    Choose below to see the proportion of 25- to 34-year-olds with at least an associate degree.

    Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2013 American Community Survey

    Close

    Add this site
    to your homescreen

    It looks like you are using an device. Follow these simple instructions to add the Stronger Nation report to your homescreen for easy access.

    To top