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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 60.4%, which is nearly double the United States, and holding a graduate or professional degree is 29.4%, which is more than double the United States.

About the Data and Proper Data Interpretation

Educational attainment data is sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau 2000 Census and the American Community Survey (ACS).  ​It is important to note that any data sourced from the ACS is based on a small sample of the population of a place. 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.  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 is not considered statistically significant. 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 the data has a clear trend then the data from one period to the next can be deemed reliable.

Educational Attainment - Current

Bachelor's or Higher Degrees - Current
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 the following graph. Out of all 3,144 jurisdictions in the USA, five of the ten highest ranked for 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 (4th), Fairfax County (5th), and Loudoun County (7th).  Overall, Northern Virginia's share is 61.1% for residents age 25 or more with bachelor's or higher degrees, which is well higher than Virginia and nearly twice that of the USA.

Bachelor's or Higher Degrees - Current​
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 837 jurisdictions with a population of 65,000 or more in the USA, four of the top six for 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), Fairfax (3rd), and Loudoun (6th). 

Graduate or Professional Degrees - Current
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 the following graph. Out of all 3,144 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 (5th), Fairfax County (10th), City of Fairfax (17th), and Loudoun County (19th).  Overall, Northern Virginia's share is 29.5% for residents age 25 or more with graduate or professional degrees, which is well higher than Virginia and more than twice that of the USA.

Graduate or Professional Degrees - Current
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 837 jurisdictions with a population of 65,000 or more in the USA, four of the twenty highest ranked for 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 (3rd), Fairfax County (6th), and Loudoun County (16th).

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 experienced 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 2017-2021 period was 60.4%, compared to the United States which was 24.4% and 33.7% respectively. This strong growth in highly educated persons creates a strong, growing, and flourishing business community. 

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:

  • Northern Virginia, as defined for this analysis using the region's five largest jurisdictions, trended upward, increasing from an estimated 54.7% in 2010 to 62.9% in 2022.

  • All of the region's five largest jurisdictions have trended upward since 2010 in their percentage with a bachelor's degree or higher.

  • Arlington and Loudoun Counties have had the the greatest increases.  

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 2017-2021 period was 29.4%, compared to the United States which was 8.9% and 13.1% respectively. Northern Virginia's strong growth in highly educated persons creates a strong, growing, and flourishing business community.

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:

 

  • Northern Virginia, as defined for this analysis using the region's five largest jurisdictions, trended upward in the college educated population, increasing from an estimated 25.4% in 2010 to 30.8% in 2022.

  • All of the region's five largest jurisdictions have trended upward since 2010in the percentage with a graduate or professional degree.

  • Alexandria and Loudoun have had the the greatest increases.

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