SAN FRANCISCO — Four California cities rank among the nation’s best educated, new Census data show.
The San Francisco Bay area’s dynamic economy probably has helped attract a disproportionate number of college graduates. Meanwhile, though, the state fared poorly when it comes to high school graduates – highlighting the gap between educational haves and have nots.
San Jose had the highest percentage of adults with a college degree of any metropolitan area, the survey of 50,000 households reported.
More than 42 percent of San Jose residents over 25 years old earned a bachelor’s degree.
Nationally, 25.6 percent of Americans over 25 have a college degree. That’s up from 14 percent in 1975.
“Man, we’ve got a lot of really educated people here,” said Eric Newburger, a Census researcher who co-authored the study. “We know in general that migration is driven by employment opportunities.”
“There’s a mandate that folks have a higher education for jobs here,” said Michelle Montague-Bruno, a spokeswoman for the Silicon Valley Manufacturing Group, a high-tech industry association.
But in a reflection of the state’s educational gap, Riverside-San Bernardino ranked near last among metropolitan areas – there just 19 percent of residents over 25 have earned a degree.
California’s educational level suffers when it comes to the broader measure of how likely residents are to be high school graduates. Overall, 84.1 percent of Americans have a high school diploma. At 81.2 percent, California ranked 41st among states.
“I think it portends a very sharply divided society of the educated and the uneducated, which correspond roughly to the rich and the poor,” said Anne MacLachlan, a senior education researcher at the University of California, Berkeley. “San Francisco, San Jose, Orange County and Oakland have not only many institutions of higher education, but also have a great deal of very sophisticated industries that require higher degrees.”
The Census Bureau’s Newburger said that a significant portion of California’s college graduates come from outside the state.
Foreign-born immigrants play an important role in the numbers, he said.
Indeed, 44.2 percent of California residents born in Asia have a college degree. On the flip side, immigrants from Latin America tend not to have completed college. Newburger said 7.1 percent of foreign-born Hispanics have a degree.
On the Net:
Census Bureau report: http://www.census.gov/population/www/socdemo/educ-attn.html
Here is a look at what U.S. cities have the greatest percentage of residents with a bachelor’s degree.
1) San Jose: 42.4
2) Washington, D.C.: 42
3) Boston: 41.1
4) San Francisco: 39.5
5) Denver: 38.2
6) Seattle, Wash.: 35.7
7) Newark, N.J.: 34.7
8) Oakland: 34.3
9) San Diego: 34
10) New York City: 32.9
11) Orange County: 31.9
National Average: 25.6
Other California Cities:
Los Angeles-Long Beach: 25
Riverside-San Bernardino: 19.3