Education
Education Levels of Adults

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Education Levels of Adults, 2016-20

What does this measure?

The number of residents with a particular level of education, expressed as a percentage of all residents 25 and older.

Why is this important?

An educated population makes a more attractive workforce and is better prepared to instruct the next generation of residents. High educational attainment represents a region's investment in human capital and preparation for long-term growth, as well as access to educational opportunities.

How is our region doing?

In 2016-20, 51% of adults in MetroWest had at least a bachelor's degree, up from 39% in 2000. That was substantially higher than the national rate of 33% and also above Massachusetts' rate of 45%. Only 7% of adults in the region lacked a high school diploma, while 21% were high school graduates and 21% had attended some college. These proportions were fairly similar to the state. The nation had higher percentages of people who attended some college (27%), were high school graduates (29%) or lacked diplomas (11%).

Within the region, Norfolk and Middlesex counties had similar levels of education, with more than 50% of residents holding college degrees; the share was lower in Worcester County, at 37%. The percentage of adults with at least a bachelor's degree was above 80% in Dover, Lexington, Sherborn, Wellesley, and Weston. Milford had the lowest share of college degree-holders at 38%, the only town below 40%. Since 2000, Maynard and Dedham saw the largest gains in their share of adults with college degrees (up by 19 and 22 percentage points, respectively).

Notes about the data

Adults are people 25 and older. The multi-year figures are from the Census Bureau's American Community Survey. The bureau combined five years of responses to the survey to provide estimates for smaller geographic areas and increase the precision of its estimates. However, because the information came from a survey, the samples responding to the survey were not always large enough to produce reliable results, especially in small geographic areas. CGR has noted on data tables the estimates with relatively large margins of error. Estimates with three asterisks have the largest margins, plus or minus 50% or more of the estimate. Two asterisks mean plus or minus 35%-50%, and one asterisk means plus or minus 20%-35%. For all estimates, the confidence level is 90%, meaning there is 90% probability the true value (if the whole population were surveyed) would be within the margin of error (or confidence interval).

The survey provides data on characteristics of the population that used to be collected only during the decennial census. Data for this indicator are released annually in December.

Education Levels of Adults, 2016-20
Bachelor's degree or higherHigh school graduate, GED, or alternativeLess than high school diplomaSome college or associate's degree
United States33%27%11%29%
Massachusetts45%24%9%23%
Region51%21%7%21%
Middlesex County57%19%6%18%
Norfolk County55%19%6%21%
Worcester County37%27%9%27%
Acton town, Middlesex County74%7%*3%*15%
Ashland town, Middlesex County61%16%4%*20%
Bedford town, Middlesex County68%11%*5%**16%*
Bellingham town, Norfolk County40%27%4%*29%
Boxborough town, Middlesex County71%8%*5%***16%*
Carlisle town, Middlesex County78%5%**1%***16%*
Concord town, Middlesex County73%13%5%*10%
Dedham town, Norfolk County55%20%5%*20%
Dover town, Norfolk County83%6%**1%***10%**
Framingham city, Middlesex County50%22%9%19%
Franklin town, Norfolk County55%18%3%*24%
Groton town, Middlesex County66%16%*3%**15%*
Harvard town, Worcester County64%15%*3%***18%*
Holliston town, Middlesex County66%12%3%***19%
Hopkinton town, Middlesex County74%10%*2%**13%
Hudson town, Middlesex County46%22%10%*22%
Lexington town, Middlesex County85%5%1%**8%
Lincoln town, Middlesex County76%6%**1%***17%*
Littleton town, Middlesex County55%20%*4%***21%
Marlborough city, Middlesex County40%26%9%*24%
Maynard town, Middlesex County57%17%3%***23%
Medfield town, Norfolk County75%7%*1%***17%
Medway town, Norfolk County60%16%4%**20%
Milford town, Worcester County34%27%12%27%
Millis town, Norfolk County48%21%*4%***27%*
Natick town, Middlesex County67%14%3%*16%
Needham town, Norfolk County78%8%2%**11%
Sherborn town, Middlesex County85%5%**1%***10%**
Southborough town, Worcester County66%12%*4%**17%
Stow town, Middlesex County75%8%**1%***16%*
Sudbury town, Middlesex County80%10%1%***9%*
Walpole town, Norfolk County55%18%5%**21%
Waltham city, Middlesex County53%20%9%19%
Wayland town, Middlesex County77%7%*2%***14%
Wellesley town, Norfolk County84%5%*2%*9%
Westborough town, Worcester County68%14%4%*14%
Westford town, Middlesex County69%13%*2%*16%
Weston town, Middlesex County84%9%*1%***5%**
Westwood town, Norfolk County70%10%*3%***16%

Source: U.S. Census Bureau
Notes: Adults are people 25 and older. Multiyear results are from rolling American Community Survey. * Margin of error between 20% & 35% of estimate; ** margin of error between 35% & 50%; *** margin of error greater than 50%.




Education Levels of Adults, 2016-20
Bachelor's degree or higherHigh school graduate, GED, or alternativeLess than high school diplomaSome college or associate's degree
United States73,356,31959,421,41925,562,68064,496,416
Massachusetts2,144,1421,133,358429,7941,108,037
Region1,126,964458,631150,887460,914
Middlesex County644,709209,18171,703204,256
Norfolk County270,14492,75229,313102,950
Worcester County212,111156,69849,871153,708
Acton town, Middlesex County12,1191,206*536*2,421
Ashland town, Middlesex County7,9852,075505*2,588
Bedford town, Middlesex County6,6681,097*460**1,578*
Bellingham town, Norfolk County4,7283,150529*3,438
Boxborough town, Middlesex County2,715309*190***632*
Carlisle town, Middlesex County2,707169**39***568*
Concord town, Middlesex County9,7381,681662*1,336
Dedham town, Norfolk County10,2813,728940*3,622
Dover town, Norfolk County3,220221**48***396**
Framingham city, Middlesex County25,70011,5374,7659,654
Franklin town, Norfolk County12,3363,920620*5,446
Groton town, Middlesex County5,0361,194*257**1,167*
Harvard town, Worcester County3,034703*158***877*
Holliston town, Middlesex County6,6861,220328***1,942
Hopkinton town, Middlesex County9,1851,243*298**1,609
Hudson town, Middlesex County6,6503,1321,419*3,248
Lexington town, Middlesex County19,2861,248328**1,853
Lincoln town, Middlesex County3,478254**45***795*
Littleton town, Middlesex County3,8911,443*267***1,492
Marlborough city, Middlesex County11,6327,6282,607*6,932
Maynard town, Middlesex County4,3941,317246***1,788
Medfield town, Norfolk County6,236586*69***1,384
Medway town, Norfolk County5,4971,477393**1,843
Milford town, Worcester County7,0845,4782,5495,451
Millis town, Norfolk County2,8981,240*211***1,644*
Natick town, Middlesex County17,5233,622783*4,138
Needham town, Norfolk County16,1151,738434**2,340
Sherborn town, Middlesex County2,453140**19***289**
Southborough town, Worcester County4,434810*263**1,166
Stow town, Middlesex County3,607365**52***787*
Sudbury town, Middlesex County9,8631,272141***1,106*
Walpole town, Norfolk County9,5023,185915**3,659
Waltham city, Middlesex County21,7878,1363,5867,990
Wayland town, Middlesex County7,164646*177***1,260
Wellesley town, Norfolk County13,206852*293*1,362
Westborough town, Worcester County8,9161,833508*1,898
Westford town, Middlesex County11,2282,037*310*2,608
Weston town, Middlesex County6,495717*89***395**
Westwood town, Norfolk County7,6741,098*371***1,803

Source: U.S. Census Bureau
Notes: Adults are people 25 and older. Multiyear results are from rolling American Community Survey. * Margin of error between 20% & 35% of estimate; ** margin of error between 35% & 50%; *** margin of error greater than 50%.




INDICATORS REGIONAL TREND
Early Prenatal Care by Mother's Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Children Living in Poverty Maintaining
Children Living in Poverty, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Single-Parent Families Increasing
Single-Parent Families by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Disengaged Youth Decreasing
Reports of Domestic Violence Maintaining
Arts, Entertainment and Recreation Establishments Increasing
Households Without Vehicles Maintaining
Means of Transportation to Work Not Applicable
Households With Internet Access Not Applicable
Voter Participation Rate Increasing
Average Charitable Contribution Maintaining
People Without Health Insurance Decreasing
Drug Poisoning Mortality Rate Increasing
Crimes Against People Decreasing
Incarceration Rates, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Change in Total Population Increasing
Change in Population by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Foreign-Born Population Increasing
Language Diversity Increasing
Population by Age Not Applicable
Change in Population by Age/Gender Not Applicable
Seniors Living Alone Decreasing
People with Disabilities Maintaining
Change in Total Jobs by Sector Not Applicable
Unemployment Rate Increasing
Business Ownership by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Unemployment Rate by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Share of Workers who are Professionals, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Average Salary by Sector Not Applicable
High-Tech Jobs Maintaining
Female to Male Earnings Ratio Maintaining
Prekindergarten Participation Not Applicable
School Spending Per Student Maintaining
Student Performance on Grade 3 English, by Student Group Not Applicable
Student Performance on Grade 8 Math by Student Group Not Applicable
Chronically Absent Students Increasing
High School Cohort Graduation Rate by Student Group Not Applicable
Education Levels of Adults Not Applicable
Education Levels of Adults, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
College Admission Rate, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
People Living in Poverty Increasing
People Living in Poverty, by Education Level Not Applicable
People Living in Poverty, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Households Receiving Temporary Assistance Maintaining
Participation in Food Assistance by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Median Household Income Maintaining
Median Household Income, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Living Wage Not Applicable
80/20 Income Ratio Maintaining
Access to Financial Services, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Homeownership Rates Increasing
Homeownership Rates, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Cost of Homeownership Increasing
Cost of Homeownership, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Cost of Rent Not Applicable
Cost of Rent, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Homelessness Increasing
Early Prenatal Care by Mother's Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Children Living in Poverty, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Single-Parent Families by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Incarceration Rates, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Change in Population by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Business Ownership by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Unemployment Rate by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Share of Workers who are Professionals, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Student Performance on Grade 3 English, by Student Group Not Applicable
Student Performance on Grade 8 Math by Student Group Not Applicable
High School Cohort Graduation Rate by Student Group Not Applicable
Education Levels of Adults, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
College Admission Rate, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
People Living in Poverty, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Participation in Food Assistance by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Median Household Income, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Access to Financial Services, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Homeownership Rates, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Cost of Homeownership, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Cost of Rent, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable


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