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“American Dream” More Likely Obtained by College Grads

According to new research from Point2, approximately 40% of American homeowners have at least a bachelor’s degree, while 30% have some college or an associate’s degree — settling the share of degree-holding homeowners at 70% nationwide. Though some 23% have a high school diploma, just 7% of American homeowners have less than a high school education.

Data found that there were 18% more bachelor’s degree holders in 2020 compared to 2010, while the share of high school graduates dipped by 8% during the same timeframe. As a result, the share of owners with at least a high school diploma rose as well.

Although there are 4% fewer owned homes in the United States than there were in 2010, an increasing share belongs to highly educated people. With Millennials strengthening their status as a driving force during the last decade, the life priorities of this sensible generation are reflected in the socio-economical makeup of today’s nation.

Compared to Baby Boomers and Gen Xers, Millennials are more prone to postponing traditional life decisions — like starting a family and buying a house — in favor of gaining education and financial independence first.

Point2 used data from the latest U.S. Census to define the correlation between an individual's education level and their chance at homeownership in the U.S. The findings highlight the idea that the higher the education, the higher the income, and the closer one gets to the American dream of homeownership.

Key Highlights:

  • Washington, D.C. has the most homeowners with at least a bachelor’s degree, while Wyoming counts the most with an associate’s degree or similar.
  • The median income of bachelor's degree holders ($56,150) is more than double that of someone without a high school diploma ($25,350), leading to higher chances for better credit and a mortgage.
  • More than 80% of individuals with degrees in Education, Industry, and Agriculture live in owned homes, while IT and Art grads are among the least likely to own a home (67% and 66%, respectively).
  • Most homeowners live in Eastern and Midwestern states, including Maine, Minnesota, Delaware and South Carolina.
  • West Virginia boasts the highest homeownership rate: 74%.

Since 2010, the share of homeowners without a high school education has dropped by 30%, while those with a bachelor’s degree has increased by 18%. These -13% decline in homeowners with a high school education or less than a high school diploma indicate that the American dream is more likely to become a reality for degree-holders.

As such, education is key to eventually owning a home and is linked to high income levels and a higher likelihood to land a mortgage despite student loans. Educated individuals who are seeking a loan are also more attractive candidates to lenders.

The Top 10 States of Most Educated Homeowners with a Bachelor’s Degree:

  1. District of Columbia (76%)
  2. Massachusetts (53%)
  3. Colorado (51%)
  4. Maryland (50%)
  5. New Jersey (50%)
  6. Connecticut (49%)
  7. Virginia (47%)
  8. Vermont (45%)
  9. New York (45%)
  10. California (45%)

U.S. States with Highest Income by Education Level:

  • District of Columbia
  • New Jersey
  • Connecticut
  • Massachusetts
  • Maryland

D.C. sets itself apart, with the highest income among bachelor’s degree-holders at almost $71,850. The second-highest median income for degree-holders is in New Jersey at $67,850.

Education level also influences income, but so does the state one lives in. There are disparities in median personal income when we consider education attainment among homeowners. In particular, the median income of an individual in the U.S. with a bachelor’s degree is more than double that of someone without a high school diploma — almost $56,150 versus $25,350.

To read the full report, including charts and methodology, click here.


About Author: Demetria Lester

Demetria C. Lester is a reporter for DS News and MReport, with more than six years of writing experience. She has served as Editor-in-Chief at Northlake College and staff writer at her alma mater, the University of Texas at Arlington. She has covered events such as the Byron Nelson, Pac-12 Conferences, the Women in Dallas Film Festival, to freelance work with the Dallas Wings and D Magazine. Currently located in Dallas, Texas, she is an avid jazz lover and reader. She can be reached at [email protected]

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