Atlanta not among leaders in millennial education

When it comes to the percentage of millennials who have college degrees, metro Atlanta ranks in the top third of the country, according to a new study.

The study, released Monday by the Brookings Institution, shows 39 percent of Atlantans between the ages of 25 and 34 have graduated from college or achieved higher degrees.

Metro Atlanta placed 27th among 100 American metro areas, according to Brookings.

The study also throws some shade on Atlanta's bid to win the right to be the site of a second headquarters for Seattle-based Amazon.

Among many factors, Amazon is thought to be interested in a region that is rich in tech-savvy young workers, said William Frey, author of the study and a Brookings senior fellow.

"Yet, while millennial education was likely an important element in the consideration of Amazon finalists, an examination of these locales suggests it was not the only condition for their advancement in the competition," he said

That should give Atlanta at least some tentative reassurance.

Amazon has said that it will invest $5 billion in the new headquarters, which will employ more than 50,000 people.

The company has officially narrowed its search from 238 bids down to 19 U.S. cities – including Atlanta — plus Toronto.

Brookings did not rank Toronto as part of the study about millennials.

But among the 19 American metros competing for the headquarters, Boston ranks first, with 59 percent of its millennials holding at least an undergraduates degree, followed by Washington, New York, Raleigh and Denver.

More than one-third of all millennials have college degrees, said Frey. “However, the cream of the millennial crop is not evenly spread across the landscape,” he said.

In 28 large metros, fewer than one in three millennials have college degrees, he said.


AJC Business reporter Michael E. Kanell keeps you updated on the latest news about jobs, housing and consumer issues in metro Atlanta and beyond. You'll find more on, including these stories:

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AMAZON COVERAGE: Read more about officials' attempts to lure Amazon to Georgia at

Percentage of millennials with college degrees among 20 candidates for Amazon

1. Boston 58.5

2. Washington 53.6

3. New York 47.5

4. Raleigh 47.2

5. Denver 46.0

6. Austin 45.1

7. Pittsburgh 43.7

8. Chicago 43.7

9. Philadelphia 42.9

10. Nashville 41.9

11. Columbus 41.8

12. Atlanta 39.0

Source: The Brookings Institution