Counties with the most college graduates in California

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September 18, 2021
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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.

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

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Kenneth Green // Wikimedia Commons

#30. Plumas County

- 23.7% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 4.9% ($17,639 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 26.1% ($31,694)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 45.4% ($40,082)
- Bachelor's degree: 14.8% ($45,795)
- Graduate or professional degree: 8.9% ($58,594)
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Binksternet // Wikimedia Commons

#29. Mendocino County

- 24.4% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 13.5% ($22,044 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 25% ($30,638)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 37% ($30,906)
- Bachelor's degree: 15.6% ($35,429)
- Graduate or professional degree: 8.8% ($50,820)
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EPoelzl // Wikimedia Commons

#28. Mariposa County

- 24.6% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 9.4% ($26,842 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 24.4% ($28,152)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 41.6% ($28,787)
- Bachelor's degree: 15.9% ($43,750)
- Graduate or professional degree: 8.6% ($47,791)
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Naotake Murayama // Wikicommons

#27. Monterey County

- 24.7% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 28.5% ($22,311 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 20.3% ($31,107)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 26.5% ($37,640)
- Bachelor's degree: 14.8% ($57,550)
- Graduate or professional degree: 9.9% ($81,640)
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#26. Solano County

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

- Less than high school diploma: 11.6% ($27,130 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 23.8% ($38,251)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 37.7% ($45,586)
- Bachelor's degree: 18.6% ($62,573)
- Graduate or professional degree: 8.3% ($80,063)
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#25. Butte County

- 27.2% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 10.7% ($25,128 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 22.5% ($29,274)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 39.6% ($31,245)
- Bachelor's degree: 18% ($52,405)
- Graduate or professional degree: 9.2% ($68,784)
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Chuck Abbe // Wikimedia Commons

#24. Inyo County

- 27.2% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 11.5% ($26,563 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 28.6% ($31,589)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 32.8% ($34,743)
- Bachelor's degree: 16.7% ($52,803)
- Graduate or professional degree: 10.5% ($71,682)
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clr_flickr from Rocklin, USA // Wikimedia Commons

#23. Mono County

- 28.8% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 11.5% ($21,236 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 24.2% ($31,400)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 35.5% ($36,907)
- Bachelor's degree: 21% ($44,546)
- Graduate or professional degree: 7.8% ($50,714)
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Cory Maylett // Wikimedia Commons

#22. Humboldt County

- 30.4% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 9.6% ($24,053 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 22.2% ($27,711)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 37.9% ($30,551)
- Bachelor's degree: 20.3% ($37,894)
- Graduate or professional degree: 10.1% ($57,386)
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#21. Sacramento County

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

- Less than high school diploma: 12.3% ($24,334 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 22.4% ($31,634)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 34.5% ($39,206)
- Bachelor's degree: 20.4% ($59,404)
- Graduate or professional degree: 10.4% ($80,370)
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BDS2006 // Wikimedia

#20. Los Angeles County

- 32.5% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 20.9% ($22,765 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 20.6% ($30,414)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 26% ($37,642)
- Bachelor's degree: 21.2% ($57,016)
- Graduate or professional degree: 11.3% ($81,014)
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#19. Ventura County

- 33.8% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 15% ($23,475 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 19.2% ($32,179)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 32.1% ($42,848)
- Bachelor's degree: 21.3% ($63,967)
- Graduate or professional degree: 12.5% ($87,565)
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#18. Santa Barbara County

- 34.2% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 19.1% ($23,766 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 17.8% ($31,386)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 29% ($39,455)
- Bachelor's degree: 20.2% ($59,895)
- Graduate or professional degree: 14% ($79,017)
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DimiTalen // Wikimedia Commons

#17. El Dorado County

- 34.3% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 6.6% ($26,359 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 21.3% ($35,614)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 37.9% ($43,874)
- Bachelor's degree: 22.6% ($67,004)
- Graduate or professional degree: 11.7% ($86,003)
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Susan Popielaski // Wikimedia Commons

#16. Alpine County

- 34.5% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 8.8%
- High school graduate: 28.1% ($36,250)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 28.6% ($24,091)
- Bachelor's degree: 21.2% ($26,500)
- Graduate or professional degree: 13.4% ($41,607)
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Basar // Wikicommons

#15. San Luis Obispo County

- 35.4% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 8.7% ($26,267 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 19.9% ($32,376)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 36% ($40,697)
- Bachelor's degree: 21.9% ($55,690)
- Graduate or professional degree: 13.4% ($72,271)
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Matt314 // Wikicommons

#14. Sonoma County

- 35.5% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 11.2% ($27,020 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 18.7% ($34,010)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 34.6% ($42,390)
- Bachelor's degree: 22.2% ($57,266)
- Graduate or professional degree: 13.3% ($71,176)
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Stan Shebs // Wikicommons

#13. Napa County

- 35.7% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 14.5% ($26,691 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 17.8% ($34,418)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 32% ($44,616)
- Bachelor's degree: 23.2% ($64,997)
- Graduate or professional degree: 12.5% ($83,228)
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Frank Schulenburg // Wikimedia Commons

#12. Nevada County

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

- Less than high school diploma: 5.7% ($25,436 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 18.4% ($33,148)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 38.8% ($34,876)
- Bachelor's degree: 24.2% ($47,185)
- Graduate or professional degree: 13% ($70,566)
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SD Dirk // Flickr

#11. San Diego County

- 38.8% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 12.6% ($23,608 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 18.2% ($31,615)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 30.4% ($38,816)
- Bachelor's degree: 23.8% ($61,990)
- Graduate or professional degree: 15% ($85,114)
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Doug Olson // Wikimedia Commons

#10. Placer County

- 39.7% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 5.5% ($27,107 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 18% ($38,016)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 36.8% ($46,217)
- Bachelor's degree: 26.4% ($74,676)
- Graduate or professional degree: 13.3% ($91,924)
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Hollywood // Wikimedia Commons

#9. Orange County

- 40.6% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 14.5% ($24,638 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 17.2% ($31,824)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 27.6% ($42,420)
- Bachelor's degree: 26% ($64,948)
- Graduate or professional degree: 14.5% ($91,962)
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Aaronbrick // Wikicommons

#8. Santa Cruz County

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

- Less than high school diploma: 13.7% ($23,097 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 15.5% ($30,944)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 30% ($41,044)
- Bachelor's degree: 23.8% ($61,665)
- Graduate or professional degree: 17.1% ($78,491)
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Epolk // Wikimedia Commons

#7. Yolo County

- 41.4% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 13.5% ($23,612 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 18.1% ($35,172)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 27% ($42,753)
- Bachelor's degree: 21.6% ($52,737)
- Graduate or professional degree: 19.8% ($82,258)
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MARELBU // Wikimedia Commons

#6. Contra Costa County

- 42.4% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 10.5% ($26,866 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 17.3% ($37,701)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 29.8% ($47,298)
- Bachelor's degree: 26.2% ($76,048)
- Graduate or professional degree: 16.1% ($100,426)
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Jennifer Williams // Wikimedia Commons

#5. Alameda County

- 47.4% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 11.5% ($26,900 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 17.6% ($39,659)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 23.5% ($47,257)
- Bachelor's degree: 27.3% ($74,387)
- Graduate or professional degree: 20.1% ($101,061)
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Craig Howell // Wikimedia Commons

#4. San Mateo County

- 51% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 10.4% ($27,674 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 14.9% ($36,747)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 23.7% ($47,888)
- Bachelor's degree: 29% ($79,080)
- Graduate or professional degree: 22% ($120,894)
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Uladzik Kryhin // Shutterstock

#3. Santa Clara County

- 52.4% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 11.6% ($27,727 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 14.1% ($35,850)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 21.8% ($47,300)
- Bachelor's degree: 27.7% ($86,004)
- Graduate or professional degree: 24.7% ($124,577)
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#2. San Francisco County

- 58.1% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 11.5% ($23,781 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 12.1% ($31,701)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 18.3% ($44,710)
- Bachelor's degree: 34.8% ($84,318)
- Graduate or professional degree: 23.3% ($107,963)
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Kglavin // Wikimedia Commons

#1. Marin County

- 59.5% of population 25 years and over with Bachelor's degree or higher

- Less than high school diploma: 6.7% ($24,952 median earnings)
- High school graduate: 10.5% ($35,460)
- Some college or Associate's degree: 23.3% ($46,816)
- Bachelor's degree: 34.3% ($80,372)
- Graduate or professional degree: 25.2% ($103,667)

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