(CLICK TO ENLARGE)
How smart is the United States? Yes, that’s a loaded question. But would you say that the United States is smarter than Canada, its neighbor to the north? How about Ireland or Italy?
Well, by at least one measure of education, and smarts, Canada beats the snot out of the United States: the average level of education of its residents.
Would you have guessed that in most states less than a third of the adult populations hold bachelor‘s degrees?(Check out the graphic) to see where your state stands in the ratings. Warning: if you‘re from Texas, you may not want to know.
Only 27.4 percent of U.S. residents 25 or older have earned at least a bachelor’s degree from a university or college. In Canada, that number is far higher: 42 percent.
The Lazy American?
Are U.S. residents simply too lazy to attend college? Maybe. But a better explanation might be the costs. It’s not cheap to earn a bachelor’s degree in college. Most studies say that the average graduate with a bachelor’s degree has rung up more than $20,000 in student loan debt to achieve it.
At the same time, many U.S. residents today are questioning whether a college education is a good investment. After all, the U.S. job market is dismal. Jobs are scarce. And many of the ones available won’t make anyone rich.
Why spend $20,000 or more to earn a degree when there are no guarantees that it will land a high-paying job after graduation?
Or maybe Canadians just care more about education.
Other Countries Even Worse
The United States might not be able to beat Canada when it comes to education levels. But its stats are much better than many others. For instance, in Austria, only 14 percent of adults 25 or older have earned bachelor’s degrees. In Italy, that number stands at just 10 percent.
Then there’s the issue of high school diplomas. How does the United States fare when it comes to these?
Again, it depends on which countries you look at.
In the United States, 84.5 percent of residents 25 and over have either high school diplomas or their equivalents. That’s almost dwarfed by Denmark, where 96 percent of these residents have nabbed their high school diplomas. In Japan, that number stands at a very impressive 93 percent.
And if you wanted to, you could blame specific states for the United States’ rather low rate of high school diplomas.
For instance, Texas boasts the lowest rate of high school diplomas for residents 25 or older: 79.2 percent. Mississippi also has a high school diploma rate under 80 percent.
Can you guess, though, which states have the highest rate of diplomas among its 25-and-ups? Minnesota ranks first. There, a healthy 91.2 percent of its residents 25 or older have earned their high school diplomas.
Other states in which more than 90 percent of 25-year-olds and higher have nabbed high school diplomas are Montana, Utah, Wyoming, Vermont, New Hampshire and Alaska.
If you want to see where your particular state ranks, just click on the infographic attached to this story. You might be surprised at how high, or how low, your state ranks. Maybe your neighbors aren’t as smart as you think they are.
And who knows? It might give you more ammunition in the insult battles you wage with your neighboring states.