Tennessee Ranks Among The Least Educated States In The Country

Image Credit: Shaundd / CC

By Samuel Stebbins [24/7 Wall St. via The Center Square] –

Education levels are on the rise in the United States. According to newly released estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, 79.9 million American adults – 35% of the nation’s 25 and older population – have a bachelor’s degree or higher. As recently as five years ago, fewer than 33% of American adults had a bachelor’s degree.

A college education has long been a key driver of upward economic mobility in the United States. However, enrollment costs at colleges and universities have soared in recent years, making a four-year postsecondary education prohibitively expensive for many working- and middle-class families.

Cost is not the only factor to consider before attending college. The chosen career path is another. For some business owners and those pursuing a career in the trades, the military, law enforcement, or public safety, a bachelor’s degree may not be necessary. Regardless of personal considerations, in some parts of the country, Americans are far less likely to have a four-year college degree than in others. Here is a look at the highest paying jobs you can get without a college degree.

In Tennessee, an estimated 30.5% of adults 25 and older have a bachelor’s degree or higher, below the 35% share nationwide and the 12th lowest among all states.

Nationwide, median earnings among workers with a bachelor’s degree stood at $61,073 in 2021, compared to $35,019 among working adults with no more than a high school diploma. Due in part to lower-than-average bachelor’s degree attainment rates, the median earnings among all working adults in Tennessee is $41,181 a year, less than the comparable national median of $45,943.

All income and education data in this story is from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2021 American Community Survey. Annual unemployment rates are from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

RankStateAdults with a bachelor’s degree or higher (%)Median annual earnings, all working adults, 2021 ($)2021 unemployment rate (%)
1West Virginia24.139,4495.0
11New Mexico30.139,8266.8
Source 24/7 Wall St.

2 thoughts on “Tennessee Ranks Among The Least Educated States In The Country

  • September 30, 2022 at 4:11 pm

    A university education is not as valued as it once was, since much of what is taught represents a very one-sided political/world view. As can be said for elementary and secondary education today, students are taught WHAT to think, not how. This is, quite simply, indoctrination.
    I have lived in several states whose inhabitants are decorated with degrees from one end to the other. I respect the people here in Tennessee far more than the inhabitants of anywhere else I have been. Morals and values go a long way towards making a state a great place to live – and Tennessee is!

  • September 30, 2022 at 4:41 pm

    Sure Tn. may not be as so called educated as some parts but make up in common sense! A lot of these educated are working in fast food joints with a worthless degree and thousands of dollars in debt.


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