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Educational Attainment Overall

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Educational Attainment Overall

Key Facts Educational Attainment Overall

Northern Virginia localities are home to some of the most highly educated residents in the nation.  This high education level of the region's citizens creates a strong, flourishing business community.  The percentage of Northern Virginia's population age 25 or more holding a bachelor's or higher degree is 59.5%, which is nearly double the United States overall.

Note: The 2020 ACS one-year estimates will not be released due to the impacts the COVID-19 pandemic on data collection and a lower response rate.  The ACS collected only two-thirds of the responses it typically collects in a survey year.  It did not meet the Census Bureau’s data quality standards.  Therefore, 2019 ACS one-year estimates are the latest shown on our dashboard.

Educational Attainment - Current

Bachelor's or Higher Degrees - Current
2016 to 2020 Five-Year Estimates

All jurisdictions in the United States are included in the five-year American Community Survey estimates. The percentage of residents age 25 or more with bachelor's or higher degrees, for all jurisdictions in Northern Virginia, are displayed in this graph. Out of all 3,143 jurisdictions in the USA, six of the twenty highest ranked in the percentage of residents age 25 or more with bachelor's or higher degrees are located in Northern Virginia. Those include the City of Falls Church  (1st), Arlington County (2nd), the City of Alexandria (5th), Fairfax County (7th), Loudoun County (8th), and the City of Fairfax (14th).

Bachelor's or Higher Degrees - Current​
2019 One-Year Estimates

Those jurisdictions with a population of 65,000 or more are included in the one-year American Community Survey estimates. For those jurisdictions in Northern Virginia with a population of 65,000, the percentage of residents age 25 or more with bachelor's or higher degrees is displayed in this graph. Out of the 829 jurisdictions with a population of 65,000 or more in the USA, four of the twenty highest ranked in the percentage of residents age 25 or more with bachelor's or higher degrees are located in Northern Virginia. Those include Arlington County (1st), the City of Alexandria (2nd), and Loudoun and Fairfax Counties (tied for 7th). 

Graduate or Profressional Degrees - Current
2016 to 2020 Five-Year Estimates

All jurisdictions in the United States are included in the five-year American Community Survey estimates. The percentage of residents age 25 or more with graduate or professional degrees, for all jurisdictions in Northern Virginia, are displayed in this graph. Out of all 3,142 jurisdictions in the USA, six of the twenty highest ranked in the percentage of residents age 25 or more with graduate or higher degrees are located in Northern Virginia. Those include the City of Falls Church  (1st), Arlington County (3rd), the City of Alexandria (6th), City of Fairfax (9th), Fairfax County (10th), and Loudoun County (19th).

Graduate or Profressional Degrees - Current
2019 One-Year Estimates

Those jurisdictions with a population of 65,000 or more are included in the one-year American Community Survey estimates. For those jurisdictions in Northern Virginia with a population of 65,000, the percentage of residents age 25 or more with graduate or professional degrees is displayed in this graph. Out of the 829 jurisdictions with a population of 65,000 or more in the USA, three of the ten highest ranked in the percentage of residents age 25 or more with graduate or professional degrees are located in Northern Virginia. Those include Arlington (1st), the City of Alexandria (2nd), and Fairfax County (8th).

Educational Attainment - Historic Compared to Current

Bachelor's or Higher Degrees - Historic Compared to Current
Five-Year Estimates

Northern Virginia is one of the most educated places in the United States.  The region's population has set an upward trend since 2000 to become even more and more highly educated than it already was.  Northern Virginia's age 25 and over population holding bachelor's or higher degrees in 2000 was 50.7% and in the 2016-2020 period was 59.5%, compared to the United States which was 24.4% and 32.9% respectively. This strong growth in highly educated persons creates a strong, growing, and flourishing business community. 

 

Note, the American Community Survey is a survey with a small sample size.  Areas with smaller populations, such as the cities of Northern Virginia, may have a larger margin of error in the data due to the survey sample size being small.  This is less of an issue the larger the population.  The margin of error is shown in the popup that is displayed when hovering over a bar in the bar charts.  In addition to the margin of error, the accuracy of the American Community Survey data for an area can be gaged by evaluating the trend.  If there is a large increase or decrease in the estimate from one time period to the next, and the margin of error is large and overlaps other periods, then the large change between time periods is likely due to statistical sampling error and the data should be used with caution.  

Bachelor's or Higher Degrees - Historic Compared to Current
One-Year Estimates

The trend in persons age 25 and over holding a bachelor's or higher degree, for the regions large jurisdictions (population of 65,000 or more), are shown in the following graph.

 

Key Facts:

 

  • All of the region's five largest jurisdictions have trended upward in its college educated population since 2010.

  • Loudoun, Prince William and Fairfax Counties have had the the greatest transformations.  

  • Alexandria and Arlington have had increases at a slower pace than the other large jurisdictions.

  • Loudoun has the 2nd highest amount today and Arlington has the 3rd highest persons with bachelor's or higher degrees, whereas people holding graduate or professional degrees today is higher for Arlington than Loudoun.

Graduate or Professional Degree - Historic Compared to Current
Five-Year Estimates

Northern Virginia's age 25 and over population holding professional and graduate degrees in 2000 was 22.1% and in the 2016-2020 period was 28.7%, compared to the United States which was 8.9% and 12.7% respectively. This strong growth in highly educated persons creates a strong, growing, and flourishing business community.

 

Note, the American Community Survey is a survey with a small sample size.  Areas with smaller populations, such as the cities of Northern Virginia, may have a larger margin of error in the data due to the survey sample size being small.  This is less of an issue the larger the population.  The margin of error is shown in the popup that is displayed when hovering over a bar in the bar charts.  In addition to the margin of error, the accuracy of the American Community Survey data for an area can be gaged by evaluating the trend.  If there is a large increase or decrease in the estimate from one time period to the next, and the margin of error is large and overlaps other periods, then the large change between time periods is likely due to statistical sampling error and the data should be used with caution.  

Graduate or Professional Degree - Historic Compared to Current
One-Year Estimates

The trend in persons age 25 and over holding a graduate or professional degree, for the regions large jurisdictions (population of 65,000 or more), are shown in the following graph.

 

Key Facts:

 

  • All of the region's five largest jurisdictions have trended upward in its college educated population since 2010.

  • Loudoun and Fairfax Counties have had the the greatest transformations.  

  • Alexandria, Arlington, and Prince William have had increases at a slower pace than the other large jurisdictions.

  • Loudoun has the 2nd highest amount today and Arlington has the 3rd highest persons with bachelor's or higher degrees, whereas people holding graduate or professional degrees today is higher for Arlington than Loudoun. Loudoun has come very close to Arlington's amount of graduate or professional degree holders today given its large growth over the years.