Kentucky is among the least educated of the country’s 50 states in a new comparison released Tuesday.
Kentucky ranked 47th for percentage of adults 25 and older with bachelor’s degrees, and 47th for percentage of adults with associate’s degrees or at least some college experience. Those and other findings didn’t help the state earn high marks.
The states were compared and ranked on educational attainment, degrees obtained by gender and race, and school quality, using data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the National Center for Education Statistics, the Chronicle of Higher Education and the popular U.S. News & World Report rankings of colleges and universities, according to WalletHub, the personal-finance website that releases studies on a variety of issues.
Kentucky was recognized in the study for its lack of a gap in degrees among its population — there weren’t significant differences in the education attainment of white and black adults 25 years and older or in the percentages of men and women with degrees. But that’s easier to achieve when the overall number of degrees among adults is low.
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There are pockets of Kentucky where residents have higher levels of education. Lack of education can affect the kinds of jobs residents can get and the incomes they earn. Education levels also matter to businesses, because companies look to locate in states with educated work forces.
Overall, Kentucky was among the five worst in educational attainment. Other bottom-dwellers included West Virginia, Mississippi, Louisiana and Arkansas, according to WalletHub. Rounding out the bottom 10 were Nevada, Alabama, Tennessee, Texas and Oklahoma.
The 10 most educated states were Massachusetts, Maryland, Colorado, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, Virginia, Minnesota, Washington and New Jersey.