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There is growing evidence showing a correlation between economic prosperity, social wellbeing, and education. Education is important to grow career opportunities, and it is beneficial for society; that is why there is a ranking of the worst– and best-educated populations.

WalletHub study used educational attainment and quality of education to rank states

A recent WalletHub study carried a survey of the best and worst educated states in the US using a range of factors. The study grouped the factors into educational attainment and quality of education and attainment gap.

The study calculated educational attainment as a percentage of adults above 25 years with a high school diploma, associate degree, or some college experience, bachelor’s degree, or a professional degree.  For the quality of education and attainment gap, the study employed various indicators of k-12 education and some measures about higher education.

Some of the things include the quality of the public school system in the state, high school graduation rate, number of Blue Ribbon schools per capita, and Advanced Placement test performance. Other things include the presence of voucher programs in the states, the quality of the universities in the state, and the size of gender and racial gaps in the proportion of individuals with a bachelor’s degree.

States ranked from most educated to least

Based on the methodology employed, the top-ranked states include Massachusetts, Maryland, Colorado, Vermont, Connecticut, Virginia, Washington, New Jersey, New Hampshire, and Minnesota. The worst-ranked states from 41 to 50 include Tennessee, New Mexico, Nevada, South Carolina, Kentucky, Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, West Virginia, and Mississippi.

However, on closer scrutiny, the methodology might not stand up; thus there is a need to be cautious about giving the results credence. For instance, a high number of adults with a college education may be a result of migration, similar to a state with higher education institutions. If a state attracts more college-educated adults than another state then it will earn a higher score, but that doesn’t mean that its education system is superior. The association between the percentage of educated adults and the education system of a state is somehow complicated.