Madison is the 5th most educated city in America — but with a gap  

By: - July 20, 2021 5:54 am
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Photo by Jessica Ruscello on Unsplash

Madison came in fifth place out of the largest 150 metropolitan areas in WalletHub’s 2021 statistics ranking the most educated cities in the country, which were released on Monday. 

The personal finance website staff decided to measure these statistics as educators have been reporting some learning loss from the COVID-19 pandemic, according to WalletHub. 

“Cities want to attract highly educated workers to fuel their economic growth and tax revenues. Higher levels of education tend to lead to higher salaries,” say the academics conducting the survey on the website. “Plus, the more that graduates earn, the more tax dollars they contribute over time, according to the Economic Policy Institute.”

The methodology looks at where the most educated people live and nearly a dozen other metrics. A few of them are bachelor’s degrees, the racial and gender education gaps, the quality of the public schools and the universities. 

Source: WalletHub

Below are some of Madison’s ranks. (1 is the top, and 75 is the halfway point on any ranking.) 

  • 2nd – % of high school diploma holders
  • 8th – % of bachelor’s degree holders
  • 3rd – % of associate’s degree holders or college-experienced adults
  • 9th – % of graduate or professional degree holders
  • 7th – average quality of universities
  • 11th – enrolled students in top 1,009 universities per capita
  • 60th – gender education gap (women vs. men)

Four cities beat Madison —  Ann Arbor, Mich; San Jose/Sunnyvale/Santa Clara, Calif.; Washington D.C. (including Arlington and Alexandria); and San Francisco (with Oakland and Berkeley).

Madison’s overall educational attainment was third among the cities — but Wisconsin’s capital fell down in a key area: the educational attainment gap. In this area that took into account the gap between Black and white students, as well as women and men — even when combined with statistics on the quality of education, Madison ranked 49th. 

And Milwaukee combined with Waukesha — only accounting for the racial gap — had the lowest rankings among all the cities.

Source: WalletHub


The bottom 14 cities on the list were all from Texas, California or Florida — except for one from North Carolina.



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Melanie Conklin
Melanie Conklin

Melanie Conklin is proud to be a native of the state of Wisconsin, which gave humankind the typewriter, progressivism and deep-fried cheese curds. Her several decades in journalism include political beats and columns at Isthmus newspaper, the Wisconsin State Journal and other publications. When not an ink-stained wretch, she served time inside state, local and federal government in communications. She is excited to be back at the craft of journalism as Deputy Editor of the Wisconsin Examiner. It’s what she’s loved ever since getting her master’s degree in journalism from the UW-Madison. Her family includes one husband, two kids, four dogs and five (or more) chinchillas.