Counties with the most college graduates in California

Written by:
July 2, 2022
Kglavin // Wikimedia Commons

Counties with the most college graduates in California

The American philosopher and psychologist John Dewey once said, "Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself." Dewey advocated for an educational paradigm called pragmatism, which stresses the importance of learning academic concepts by experiencing them firsthand, instead of through lecture and repetition in a classroom.

While the philosophy is used by many educators (especially those working in fields where the value of work experience exceeds the value placed on an academic background), many people take great pride in their formal educational credentials because of the valuable skills such educations provided and because of the immense amount of work that goes into earning a degree.

Stacker compiled a list of counties with the most college graduates in California using data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Counties are ranked by the highest percent of the population 25 years and over that has a Bachelor's degree or higher using 2020 5-year estimates.

Keep reading to see which counties in your state have the most college graduates.

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Binksternet // Wikimedia Commons

#30. Mendocino County

- 24.0% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 13.3% ($21,784 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 26.3% ($31,102)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 36.4% ($32,150)
- Bachelor's degree: 14.7% ($39,601)
- Graduate or professional degree: 9.2% ($54,531)

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Kenneth Green // Wikimedia Commons

#29. Plumas County

- 24.5% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 5.3% ($16,481 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 24.1% ($43,382)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 46.1% ($37,485)
- Bachelor's degree: 15.6% ($45,901)
- Graduate or professional degree: 8.9% ($62,568)

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Naotake Murayama // Wikicommons

#28. Monterey County

- 26.2% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 27.0% ($23,763 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 20.1% ($32,009)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 26.7% ($40,318)
- Bachelor's degree: 15.8% ($59,945)
- Graduate or professional degree: 10.4% ($81,776)

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Chuck Abbe // Wikimedia Commons

#27. Inyo County

- 26.4% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 9.5% ($24,931 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 30.9% ($32,984)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 33.3% ($37,367)
- Bachelor's degree: 16.4% ($54,000)
- Graduate or professional degree: 9.9% ($68,564)

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EPoelzl // Wikimedia Commons

#26. Mariposa County

- 26.9% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 9.1% ($25,117 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 22.6% ($27,938)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 41.4% ($29,485)
- Bachelor's degree: 17.9% ($42,578)
- Graduate or professional degree: 9.0% ($41,794)

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#25. Solano County

- 27.1% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 11.3% ($29,242 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 23.6% ($40,580)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 38.0% ($46,851)
- Bachelor's degree: 18.5% ($64,135)
- Graduate or professional degree: 8.6% ($76,764)

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#24. Butte County

- 28.3% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 10.3% ($25,255 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 22.6% ($31,131)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 38.8% ($32,113)
- Bachelor's degree: 18.4% ($49,894)
- Graduate or professional degree: 9.9% ($70,249)

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Cory Maylett // Wikimedia Commons

#23. Humboldt County

- 30.9% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 9.4% ($24,899 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 23.0% ($27,669)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 36.7% ($31,354)
- Bachelor's degree: 20.7% ($36,543)
- Graduate or professional degree: 10.2% ($57,500)

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#22. Sacramento County

- 31.4% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 12.1% ($25,843 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 22.1% ($32,210)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 34.4% ($40,381)
- Bachelor's degree: 20.5% ($60,558)
- Graduate or professional degree: 10.9% ($79,907)

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clr_flickr from Rocklin, USA // Wikimedia Commons

#21. Mono County

- 32.1% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 11.8% ($21,522 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 21.9% ($44,622)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 34.1% ($40,154)
- Bachelor's degree: 21.5% ($50,505)
- Graduate or professional degree: 10.6% ($56,944)

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BDS2006 // Wikimedia

#20. Los Angeles County

- 33.5% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 20.2% ($24,134 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 20.4% ($30,995)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 25.9% ($38,198)
- Bachelor's degree: 21.8% ($58,281)
- Graduate or professional degree: 11.7% ($81,971)

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#19. Ventura County

- 33.9% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 14.4% ($25,585 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 19.5% ($32,718)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 32.3% ($44,173)
- Bachelor's degree: 21.6% ($64,383)
- Graduate or professional degree: 12.3% ($87,079)

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#18. Santa Barbara County

- 35.0% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 18.2% ($25,241 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 16.9% ($32,558)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 29.9% ($41,172)
- Bachelor's degree: 20.8% ($62,069)
- Graduate or professional degree: 14.1% ($82,073)

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DimiTalen // Wikimedia Commons

#17. El Dorado County

- 35.2% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 6.0% ($26,558 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 21.1% ($34,321)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 37.7% ($43,410)
- Bachelor's degree: 23.6% ($71,427)
- Graduate or professional degree: 11.6% ($91,250)

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Basar // Wikicommons

#16. San Luis Obispo County

- 36.1% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 8.2% ($26,837 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 19.9% ($34,381)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 35.8% ($41,776)
- Bachelor's degree: 22.3% ($57,200)
- Graduate or professional degree: 13.8% ($75,797)

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Fred Hsu // Wikicommons

#15. Sonoma County

- 36.4% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 10.9% ($29,785 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 18.2% ($35,880)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 34.5% ($43,295)
- Bachelor's degree: 22.9% ($59,569)
- Graduate or professional degree: 13.6% ($72,920)

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Stan Shebs // Wikicommons

#14. Napa County

- 37.2% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 14.5% ($29,018 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 17.5% ($34,048)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 30.8% ($45,085)
- Bachelor's degree: 24.4% ($69,402)
- Graduate or professional degree: 12.8% ($86,925)

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Frank Schulenburg // Wikimedia Commons

#13. Nevada County

- 37.6% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 5.4% ($27,028 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 18.3% ($35,424)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 38.7% ($34,197)
- Bachelor's degree: 24.7% ($50,804)
- Graduate or professional degree: 12.9% ($66,156)

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Susan Popielaski // Wikimedia Commons

#12. Alpine County

- 38.4% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 4.7% (earnings not available)
- High school graduate: 28.7% ($48,304)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 28.2% ($25,000)
- Bachelor's degree: 19.8% ($22,125)
- Graduate or professional degree: 18.6% ($72,083)

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SD Dirk // Flickr

#11. San Diego County

- 39.5% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 12.0% ($25,203 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 18.2% ($32,404)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 30.4% ($39,905)
- Bachelor's degree: 24.2% ($63,235)
- Graduate or professional degree: 15.3% ($86,386)

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Doug Olson // Wikimedia Commons

#10. Placer County

- 40.8% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 4.9% ($27,379 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 17.6% ($37,893)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 36.8% ($48,268)
- Bachelor's degree: 26.8% ($77,172)
- Graduate or professional degree: 13.9% ($97,608)

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Hollywood // Wikimedia Commons

#9. Orange County

- 41.2% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 14.0% ($25,941 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 17.2% ($33,726)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 27.6% ($43,086)
- Bachelor's degree: 26.4% ($67,002)
- Graduate or professional degree: 14.9% ($93,165)

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Aaronbrick // Wikicommons

#8. Santa Cruz County

- 41.8% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 11.7% ($23,851 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 15.6% ($32,875)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 30.9% ($41,992)
- Bachelor's degree: 24.4% ($66,855)
- Graduate or professional degree: 17.4% ($83,642)

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Epolk // Wikimedia Commons

#7. Yolo County

- 42.6% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 12.5% ($26,824 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 17.6% ($36,483)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 27.2% ($44,715)
- Bachelor's degree: 21.8% ($52,168)
- Graduate or professional degree: 20.8% ($86,630)

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MARELBU // Wikimedia Commons

#6. Contra Costa County

- 43.3% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 10.1% ($28,103 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 17.2% ($38,097)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 29.3% ($48,005)
- Bachelor's degree: 26.8% ($78,835)
- Graduate or professional degree: 16.6% ($102,366)

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Jennifer Williams // Wikimedia Commons

#5. Alameda County

- 48.7% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 11.2% ($27,994 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 17.0% ($39,878)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 23.2% ($48,645)
- Bachelor's degree: 28.1% ($75,685)
- Graduate or professional degree: 20.6% ($102,998)

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Craig Howell // Wikimedia Commons

#4. San Mateo County

- 52.1% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 9.6% ($29,792 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 14.9% ($38,141)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 23.5% ($48,697)
- Bachelor's degree: 29.5% ($81,147)
- Graduate or professional degree: 22.6% ($121,308)

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Uladzik Kryhin // Shutterstock

#3. Santa Clara County

- 53.5% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 11.3% ($30,354 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 14.0% ($36,471)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 21.3% ($48,477)
- Bachelor's degree: 27.9% ($87,164)
- Graduate or professional degree: 25.6% ($127,715)

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#2. San Francisco County

- 58.8% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 11.4% ($25,799 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 11.6% ($32,458)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 18.2% ($44,854)
- Bachelor's degree: 35.0% ($87,111)
- Graduate or professional degree: 23.7% ($114,867)

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Kglavin // Wikimedia Commons

#1. Marin County

- 60.2% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 6.4% ($25,769 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 10.3% ($40,231)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 23.2% ($46,676)
- Bachelor's degree: 34.4% ($80,832)
- Graduate or professional degree: 25.8% ($111,546)

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