The report compared all 50 states in two key categories: educational attainment and quality of education. Those categories were then broken down by 18 total metrics. Data collected includes statistics on adults ages 25 years and older with at least a high school diploma and the gender gap in educational attainment.
The top most educated states were Massachusetts, Maryland, Colorado, Vermont and Connecticut, ranking in at No. 1,2,3,4, and 5.
Georgia came in at No. 34.
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Metrics including the share of adults 25 and older who have a varying levels of college degrees and the projected high school graduation rate changes were graded on a 100-point scale. Each state’s weighted average was determined among all metrics to calculate the overall score. On the scale, a score of 100 represents the “most educated.”
Among the top five, Massachusetts scored 81.84 points. The Bay State also ranked No. 1 for educational attainment and quality of education, having the highest percentage of bachelor’s and graduate or professional degree holders. Maryland scored 76.80 points, Colorado scored 71.24, Vermont scored 70.61 and Connecticut scored 70.47. Mississippi came in last place, scoring 21.01 points.
Comparatively, Georgia scored 46.47. The southern state’s educational attainment rank was 35 and it ranked at No. 21 for quality of education.
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The findings come months after a report saying a national education group claimed the state fails to serve students who live outside of the metro Atlanta area.
In November 2019, Rural School and Community Trust put Georgia as the seventh worst in the nation based on the way it educates students in rural communities.
The WalletHub report asked experts for their thoughts on how states can combat intelligent people moving away from their home states, something known as “brain drain.”
Metropolitan State University of Denver associate professor of STEM education Janelle M. Johnson, Ph.D. said the effect is also an issue in rural areas.
“We see brain drain not only across state borders but away from rural areas as well. The lack of economic opportunities close to home leave students with little choice other than to leave their communities. Improving the quality of education without providing places where graduates can find desirable jobs leaves us back where we started,” she said in part.