With millions of Americans saddled with seemingly insurmountable levels of student debt, some are calling into question the practicality of obtaining a four-year college degree. Still, the share of Americans who have earned a bachelor’s degree rose last year. As of 2016, 31.3% of Americans age 25 and older had a bachelor’s degree or higher — up from 30.6% the previous year and 29.1% in 2012.
Better educated populations tend to benefit from a range of positive socioeconomic outcomes. American adults with a bachelor’s degree generally earn higher incomes, are less susceptible to serious financial hardship, and are more desirable candidates for employers.
> Pct. of adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 28.3%
> Median earnings for bachelor’s degree holders: $50,821 (20th highest)
> Median household income: $52,492 (18th lowest)
> 2016 unemployment: 4.9% (20th highest)
Just as it did nationwide, the share of adults in Michigan with a bachelor’s degree improved slightly in 2016. Still, the share of adults in the state with a college education of 28.3% remains below the comparable share in most states.
While adults in Michigan are less likely than American adults on the whole to have completed college, they are more likely to have earned a high school diploma. Some 90.4% of state residents 25 and older have finished high school compared to 87.5% of American adults.
24/7 Wall St. ranked each state by the share of adults 25 and older with at least a bachelor’s degree. In the most educated state, 42.7% of adults have a four-year college degree, more than double the share of 20.8% in the least educated state.
Editor’s note: Due to a fact-checking error, Idaho was incorrectly referred to as Iowa in a previous version of this article. This error has been corrected.