Data Shows D.C. Offers the Best Median Salary for Graduates in the US

Ilenia Reale

Washington, D.C., is where graduates have the best chance to earn a higher median salary in the US, according to the 2019 Census data.

The District of Columbia offers the highest median salary in the country for people with a graduate or professional degree – $101,956- and for citizens with a bachelor’s degree – $72,555.

Roughly one-third of the population over 25 in D.C. has obtained a graduate or professional degree. Also, D.C. is among the top three states for employed people according to the ratio of citizens with a bachelor’s degree. This makes the state very attractive to people looking forward to continuing their education.

Almost half of the D.C. population has completed either a graduate or bachelor’s degree. That rate translates into roughly 50 percent of the population getting a median salary equal to or above $75,000. This means that one of every two D.C. citizens is well above the poverty line in relation to other states (graph).

While D.C. citizens have better prospects if they pursue higher education, the data shows a minimal difference in median salary between high school diploma holders and those with primary education. This discrepancy could stem from D.C. being a competitive market for high-end job positions with higher education requirements.

Still, according to the data, California comes second in the median salary for graduates – $92,334. However, California is also the second state with the highest ratio of citizens over 25 that who went as far as the 9th grade.

The case of Mississipi

On the other hand of the spectrum, Mississippi has the lowest median salary for citizens with a graduate degree. In fact, someone with just a bachelor’s degree in 16 out of the 50 states has a better chance to earn a higher median salary than someone with a graduate degree in Mississippi.

Mississippi is also the state with the lowest median salary for high school graduates. Since in most states, people only have a high school diploma, it isn’t recommended to stay in Mississippi if one is not planning to continue their education.

Another phenomenon lies in college dropouts. On average, one out of every four students in all states does not finish college.

Utah is the state with the most college dropouts, with a ratio of 25.5 percent. This can be justified by the difference in median salary between people with a bachelor’s degree and dropouts is only equal to $2,580.

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