states ranked by education

US States Ranked by Education: Complete List

Every year, data crunchers try to find out the best place to get an education in America. While the exact numbers will shift as more information comes in, the list of states ranked by education equality and safety tends to stay pretty static.

The latest estimates we’re going to discuss are the distillation of more than thirty factors.

On the one hand, those include individual schools’ ranking on student-to-teacher ratio, math and reading scores, median SAT and ACT scores, graduation rates, and so forth. On the other, they also take into account bullying incidents and other safety components.

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Top 5 US States Ranked by Education Quality and Safety

Education

When examining lists of the US states ranked by education quality and safety metrics, each state will usually have three numbers. One will be its overall ranking, which is the order you’ll see in the table below. However, the individual ranking of the state’s K-12 and higher education facilities is arguably more important.

After all, if you’re a parent looking to relocate with your kids or a high schooler trying to find the best place to get a higher education, these numbers will be your guides. To illustrate what we mean, let’s take a look at the top 5 states in each of these categories.

First, we have the overall ranking, which looks like this:

1. Massachusetts
2. New Jersey
3. Florida
4. Washington
5. New Hampshire

But in this case, numbers can be deceiving. For example, even though Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New Hampshire are in the top 5 states based on education quality and safety, they are only there because of their K-12 systems. The three states hold the 27th, 30th, and 37th spots on the higher education ranking list.

Conversely, if you’re looking for states that have great higher education programs, you’ll want to go for:

1. Florida
2. Washington
3. Wyoming
4. California
5. North Dakota

But again, even though those states can provide the best higher education, their K-12 capabilities leave much to be desired. On that front, Washington is the highest-ranked among these five states, despite sitting on the 19th place of the K-12 ranking list.

How Did the Rest of the US Fare? A Complete List of States Ranked by Education

Ultimately, most states have a mid-tier ranking for both higher education and K-12 facilities. For example, Missouri and Montana both hand around the 20–30th place on all counts. Then again, some states that are mediocre on some counts are excellent on others — just look at Indiana.

All this to say, you shouldn’t get too discouraged if you find your state lagging behind some others. Even if K-12 education isn’t its strong suit, it may still have some of the best universities in the country!

Overall Rank State Higher Education K-12
1 Massachusetts 27 1
2 New Jersey 30 2
3 Florida 1 27
4 Washington 2 19
5 New Hampshire 37 3
6 Nebraska 7 9
7 Virginia 14 8
8 Vermont 41 4
9 Iowa 8 13
10 Utah 6 22
11 Colorado 9 14
12 Connecticut 44 5
13 Maryland 17 11
14 Wisconsin 11 16
15 Kansas 13 15
16 Wyoming 3 34
17 Minnesota 20 12
18 South Dakota 10 23
19 Illinois 31 7
20 North Dakota 5 35
21 California 4 37
22 New York 15 25
23 Delaware 16 24
24 Indiana 39 6
25 North Carolina 12 28
26 Montana 19 20
27 Missouri 26 21
28 Maine 34 17
29 Hawaii 21 30
30 Georgia 25 31
31 Ohio 38 18
32 Pennsylvania 50 10
33 Idaho 35 26
34 Texas 32 33
35 Tennessee 23 38
36 Oregon 22 39
37 Michigan 42 29
38 Kentucky 43 32
39 Oklahoma 28 43
40 Arizona 24 44
41 Rhode Island 48 36
42 Arkansas 40 40
43 South Carolina 46 41
44 West Virginia 45 42
45 Nevada 18 48
46 Mississippi 33 45
47 Alaska 36 47
48 Louisiana 49 46
49 New Mexico 29 50
50 Alabama 47 49

 

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