Let’s talk about education. It’s a great way to increase your earning potential. The education level of an area is also an important factor when companies are deciding where to relocate. And the good news? One North Carolina city recently ranked as the 4th most educated in the country. With another coming in just a few spots behind. So what are the most educated North Carolina cities?

First, let’s take a look at the survey. It was conducted by our friends over at WalletHub. According to data shared with us by WalletHub, the median earnings of high school graduates are approximately 40% of what someone with a professional degree makes.

WalletHub’a report on 2024’s Most & Least Educated Cities in America, set out to determine where the most educated Americans are. To do so WalletHub compared the 150 largest U.S. metropolitan statistical areas across 11 key metrics. This includes adults aged 25 and older with a bachelor’s degree or higher, the racial education gap, and the quality of the public school system among other factors.

Let’s face it- cities want to be filled with (and attract) highly educated workers. They are important to economic growth and ultimately tax revenues since higher levels of education often equate to higher salaries

Also educated citizens often want to live somewhere where they can maximize the return on their educational investment as well as be surrounded by others of a similar education level.

So where are the most educated North Carolina cities? Overall 8 cities were amongst this ranking. Keep reading to find out which ones and see where they ranked! Thanks to our friends at WalletHub for sharing their research with us. You can read the full Wallet Hub study here.

Most Educated North Carolina Cities

  • 8. Hickory

    Hickory NC sunset

    Ranking 8th amongst North Carolina cities and 144th overall is Hickory. Despite flying under the radar on this study many consider Hickory a beautiful and affordable place to live!

    Total Score: 26.91

    Educational Rank: 141

    Quality of Education & Attainment Rank: 140

  • 7. Winston Salem

    Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA Downtown Skyline.

    Ranking 113th overall is Winston-Salem. Which is home to Wake Forest University a prestigious private institution. So this ranking is a little surprising to me. I guess many graduates are not staying in the area post-grad!

    Total Score: 45.56

    Educational Rank: 119

    Quality of Education & Attainment Rank: 39

  • 6. Fayetteville

    Fayetteville North Carolina Downtown City Center Hay Street

    Yay Fayetteville! The city beat out two other NC cities and ranked 6th in the state and 106th overall. And that quality of education and attainment rank is in the top 10!

    Total Score: 47.95

    Educational Rank: 118

    Quality of Education & Attainment Rank: 9

  • 5. Greensboro

    Greensboro, North Carolina, USA downtown skyline.

    Greensboro marks the 4th NC city to rank in the 100s of this study. They came in at 101.  Don’t worry it goes up from here (way up!)

    Total Score: 48.90

    Educational Rank: 108

    Quality of Education & Attainment Rank: 35

  • 4. Charlotte

    Charlotte lands on the best cities to live in list

    Are you shocked the largest city in the state is only 4th in this study? Perhaps it’s due to the expansive population. Or more likely the plethora of nearby universities surrounding the top 2 cities. But ranking 45th overall and 4th in the state feels like Charlotte may be underachieving. 

    Total Score: 60.42

    Educational Rank: 56

    Quality of Education & Attainment Rank: 23

  • 3. Asheville

    Downtown Asheville North Carolina NC Skyline Aerial.

    In some ways, this shocks me. But then I remember how expensive it is to live in Asheville and it makes more sense!

    Total Score: 63.31

    Educational Rank: 35

    Quality of Education & Attainment Rank: 46

  • 2. Raleigh

    A colorful daytime cityscape of downtown Raleigh North Carolina

    And second in the state 9th overall is a city near and dear to my heart. And one home to my alma mater- Raleigh. So that does give me a sense of pride!

    Total Score: 79.56

    Educational Rank: 5

    Quality of Education & Attainment Rank: 30

  • 1. Durham

    Durham, North Carolina, USA downtown skyline.

    And the highest-ranking NC city and 4th in the country? Durham home to Duke University. 

    Total Score: 81.32

    Educational Rank: 8

    Quality of Education & Attainment Rank: 1

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