Degree attainment rates are up in seven of Florida’s top eight metro areas, according to the Lumina Foundation’s latest Stronger Nation report.

Florida has eight of the nation’s 100 most populated metro areas in the nation, but last year had only one in the top 50 in degree attainment (Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford).  Currently, Florida now has three metro areas in the top 50.

The Florida metro area with the greatest gains was Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, increasing 1.1% to 40.6%.  Now the state’s most educated metro area, Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville leads Orlando (40.6%) and Miami (40.5%) metros by a small margin.  To see changes at each of Florida’s top metro areas, scroll through the infographic below.

The report uses analyses of U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey data to show changes in metro area degree attainment rates, which is defined as the share or working-aged adults (ages 25-64) with an associate’s degree or higher.  While the U.S. Census data is the best source for showing annual changes in educational attainment rates, the data by itself is not able to describe the cause(s) of year-to-year changes.  Because degree attainment rates reflect the educational attainment levels of residents, changes in the rates can take place for a number of reasons, including an increase in college educated residents, a decrease in non-college educated residents or changes in resident migration (such as college educated individuals moving to a metro area).

What is known is that Florida metros are trending in the right direction.  Because employer demand for highly educated and skilled workers has never been higher, cities around the nation are competing to make their communities attractive to the highly-educated.  Compared to highly-educated metro regions such as Washington, D.C. (55.4%), San Jose (55.3%) and Boston (54.7%), Florida metro area still have significant room for growth.

To view degree attainment rates for the rest of the top 100 most populated metro areas in the nation, view the Lumina Foundation’s Stronger Nation report here.


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