Census: RI lags rest of US in HS diplomas, less for bachelor’s

Rhode Island is near the bottom of the list when it comes to how many residents finished high school, according to new Census data released Thursday.

The Census reported 83.5% of Rhode Islanders had a high school diploma in 2010, which ranked ninth from the bottom among the 50 states. Wyoming was No. 1 at 92.3% and Massachusetts ranked 18th at 89.1%. California and Texas tied for last place at 80.7%.

The share of residents with a bachelor’s degree or higher was 30.2% in Rhode Island, which ranked 13th. Massachusetts was No. 1, with 39% of residents holding a bachelor’s or more. West Virginia was last at 17.5%.

Educational attainment is even lower across the broader Providence metropolitan area, which includes 1.6 million residents in Rhode Island and Bristol County, Mass.

The Census said 82.6% of Providence area residents were high school graduates in 2010, which was fifth from the bottom among the nation’s 50 most populous metropolitan areas. But 28.5% of the region’s residents had a bachelor’s degree or higher, which ranked 33rd. The Boston area ranked No. 4 and No. 5, respectively.

(map: U.S. Census Bureau)

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