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Washington, DC beltway counties have highest ratios of college-educated residents

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A handful of US counties can now claim that a majority of their residents hold college degrees -- and many are adjacent to the nation's capital.

An interactive map, posted by The Chronicle of Higher Education, shows, on a county-by-county basis, the percentages of adults with college degrees across the United States.

A handful of US counties or independent municipalities with populations of 100,000 or more can now claim that a majority of their residents hold college degrees. The national average for attainment of a four-year college degree now stands at 27.5% of all adults, up from eight percent in 1960.

Five of the counties and municipalities with majorities who are college graduates are in the Washington, DC area. Great school systems and universities in these areas? Perhaps, but more likely is the high concentration of government agencies, contractors, consultants, associations, and independent think tanks that make the Washington region a big draw for college-trained professionals.

The counties where a majority of residents have college degrees include the following:

  1. Arlington VA                      68.8%
  2. Fairfax County, VA            58.45%
  3. Howard County, MD           57.18%
  4. Boulder, CO                       56.64%
  5. Loudoun County, VA          56.47%
  6. Montgomery County, MD    56.14%
  7. Marin County, CA               53.87%
  8. Douglas, CO                       53.53%
  9. San Francisco, CA              51.12%
  10. Johnson, IA                         50.82%
  11. Williamson, TN                    50.22%
  12. Washtenaw, MI                    50.17%

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Joe McKendrick

Contributing Editor

Joe McKendrick is an independent analyst who tracks the impact of information technology on management and markets. He is a co-author of the SOA Manifesto and has written for Forbes, ZDNet and Database Trends & Applications. He holds a degree from Temple University. He is based in Pennsylvania. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure