States That Are Most Successful in Delivering a College Education to Blacks

Nationwide, U.S. Bureau of the Census data shows that nearly 4 million African Americans now hold a four-year college degree. In 2005, 17.6 percent of all African-American adults over the age of 25 held a four-year college degree. Since 1990 the percentage of African-American adults holding a bachelor’s degree has increased from 11.3 percent to 17.6 percent. This is remarkable progress in just a decade and a half.

But the Census Bureau figures also show a wide discrepancy in college completions among African Americans in different states. The Census Bureau compiled data on the percentage of black adults with a bachelor’s degree in each of the nation’s 25 largest states in terms of population. These include most states with large black populations.

The statistics show that Maryland has the highest percentage of African Americans with a four-year college degree. Nearly 27 percent of all black adults in Maryland have at least a bachelor’s degree. It must be noted that large numbers of blacks in Maryland work for the federal government in and around Washington, D.C. Many of these African Americans have settled in Maryland but were not educated there.

More than 20 percent of all African-American adults in Minnesota, Washington State, California, and New Jersey hold a bachelor’s degree.

Only 9.2 percent of the black adults in Louisiana hold a four-year college degree, the lowest percentage among the largest states. But not all southern states fared poorly. The black percentage of the adult population with a college degree in Georgia, Texas, and Virginia was higher than the national average, which stands at 17.6 percent.