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Home > Research, Data & Reports > Degrees, Graduation Rates, Attainment & Outcomes > Educational Attainment Data


Educational Attainment Data

Percent of Minnesota's population with a degree

According to U.S. Census data, 46 percent of Minnesota's population age 25 to 64 attained an associate degree or higher. Minnesota ranks fourth on this measure behind Massachusetts (51%), Connecticut (47%) and Colorado (47%). Nationally, 39 percent of adults have an associate degree or higher.

Educational Attainment: Minnesota Population Age 25 to 64
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Individuals in the "some college, no degree" category may have completed an occupationally specific certification below the associate degree. In Minnesota, about the same number of students earn a certificate as those earning an associate degree annually. Minnesota is above the average in the number of people completing certificate programs compared to other states.

Percent of Minnesota's Population with an Associate Degree or Higher by Age, 1990 to 2012

Percent of Minnesota's Population with an Associate Degree or Higher by Age, 1990 to 2012

Younger Minnesotans are receiving more education than their parents and grandparents. The populations with the highest attainment level are 25 to 44 year olds; 50 percent had earned an associate degree or higher, ranking Minnesota second in the country. Educational attainment rates among young adults reflect recent patterns of participation in postsecondary education.

Median Income Increases with Educational Attainment: Minnesotans Age 25 and Older

Median Income Increases with Educational Attainment: Minnesotans Age 25 and Older

Minnesota Degree Attainment for Population Age 25 and Older by Race/Ethnicity

Minnesota Degree Attainment for Population Age 25 and Over by Race/Ethnicity

Minnesota and Twin Cities Area Rank High in Degree Attainment

Minneapolis ranked 4th among metropolitan statistical areas with 50 percent of population age 25 to 64 in degree attainment according to a 2012 Lumina Foundation report, A Stronger Nation through Higher Education.

The top 10 MSAs by degree attainment in 2010 were: Washington D.C. (54.37%); Boston (54.01%); San Francisco (52.91%); Minneapolis (50.06%); Seattle (47.97%); New York (45.88%); San Diego (43.95%); Baltimore (43.90%); Chicago (43.59%), and Atlanta (43.39%).

About educational attainment

Educational attainment refers to the highest level of education an individual has completed. Educational attainment data on populations are collected by the U.S. Census Bureau. The data currently is collected annually via the American Community Survey. Data on educational attainment are derived from a single question that asks, "What is the highest grade of school completed, or the highest degree received?" This question was first implemented in the 1990 Decennial Census and changed in the Current Population Survey in 1992. Prior to this, respondents were asked a two-part question that asked respondents to report the highest grade they had attended, and whether or not they had completed that grade. The response categories for the educational attainment question vary slightly by survey, but generally include the following categories:

  • No schooling completed, or less than 1 year
  • Nursery, kindergarten, and elementary (grades 1-8)
  • High school (grades 9-12, no degree)
  • High school graduate (or equivalent)
  • Some college (1-4 years, no degree)
  • Associate's degree (including occupational or academic degrees)
  • Bachelor's degree
  • Master's degree
  • Professional school degree
  • Doctorate degree

Depending on the survey, the educational attainment question may be asked only of adult household members. Even when data are collected from all household members regardless of age, the U.S. Census Bureau generally publishes data only for adults. Most publications focus on adults aged 25 years and over, when education has been completed for most people.


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