25 cities where a college degree makes all the difference in getting a good job, earning enough money, and becoming a homeowner

Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty ImagesCollege degrees are more valuable in certain cities.
  • The cost of a bachelor’s degree is at an all-time high.
  • But college degrees are still advantageous – especially in certain areas. MagnifyMoney recently determined the top cities where a bachelor’s degree is most valuable.
  • Earnings and opportunities are highest in wealthy and highly educated cities like San Jose and Washington, DC.

The cost of getting a four-year undergraduate degree is more expensive than ever. But does that mean college degrees are becoming less valuable? Not necessarily.

A college degree is still advantageous, but it can get you even further if you live in certain metropolitan areas.

MagnifyMoney recently looked at the top cities a bachelor’s degree is most valuable in the United States. To determine this, they ranked income, employment, and related data from 0 to 100 for residents with a degree and those without a degree across the US’s 50 largest metropolitan areas. A final score was awarded to each location to indicate the value of a bachelor’s degree there.

MagnifyMoney found that the earnings and opportunities that come from holding a bachelor’s degree are highest in wealthy and highly educated cities, such as San Jose, California, and Washington, DC.

Below, see the top 25 cities where a bachelor’s degree will get you the most for your job, money, and home.


24 (TIE). Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

mandritoiu/Shutterstock

Median debt-to-income ratio: 32.8%

Degree holders in Philadelphia receive 59.5% more in median income than non-degree holders. They’re also 14.6% more likely to own a home.


24 (TIE). Miami, Florida

Simon Dannhauer/Shutterstock

Median debt-to-income ratio: 50.1%

Degree holders in Miami receive 50.9% more in median income than non-degree holders. They’re also 28.5% more likely to own a home.


23. Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

Median debt-to-income ratio: 33.1%

Degree holders in Milwaukee receive 53.5% more in median income than non-degree holders. They’re also 19.1% more likely to own a home.


22. Charlotte, North Carolina

Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

Median debt-to-income ratio: 39.1%

Degree holders in Charlotte receive 39.1% more in median income than non-degree holders. They’re also 16.8% more likely to own a home.


21. Chicago, Illinois

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Median debt-to-income ratio: 35.4%

Degree holders in Chicago receive 62.5% more in median income than non-degree holders. They’re also 14.3% more likely to own a home.


19 (TIE). Portland, Oregon

Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

Median debt-to-income ratio: 36.3%

Degree holders in Portland receive 57.3% more in median income than non-degree holders. They’re also 27.6% more likely to own a home.


19 (TIE). Columbus, Ohio

f11photo/ShutterstockColumbus, Ohio in 2017.

Median debt-to-income ratio: 35.5%

Degree holders in Columbus receive 35.5% more in median income than non-degree holders. They’re also 18.7% more likely to own a home.


18. Hartford, Connecticut

Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

Median debt-to-income ratio: 25.2%

Degree holders in Hartford receive 61.2% more in median income than non-degree holders. They’re also 17.4% more likely to own a home.


17. San Antonio, Texas

Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

Median debt-to-income ratio: 42.2%

Degree holders in San Antonio receive 44.1% more in median income than non-degree holders. They’re also 40% more likely to own a home.


16. Denver, Colorado

f11photo/Shutterstock

Median debt-to-income ratio: 35%

Degree holders in Denver receive 65.8% more in median income than non-degree holders. They’re also 27.3% more likely to own a home.


14 (TIE). San Diego, California

Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

Median debt-to-income ratio: 32.4%

Degree holders in San Diego receive 64.9% more in median income than non-degree holders. They’re also 23.7% more likely to own a home.


14 (TIE). Sacramento, California

Adonis Villanueva/Shutterstock

Median debt-to-income ratio: 34%

Degree holders in Sacramento receive 54% more in median income than non-degree holders. They’re also 30.6% more likely to own a home.


13. Boston, Massachusetts

Galiptynutz/Shutterstock

Median debt-to-income ratio: 25.2%

Degree holders in Boston receive 73% more in median income than non-degree holders. They’re also 13.6% more likely to own a home.


12. Dallas, Texas

Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

Median debt-to-income ratio: 36.2%

Degree holders in Dallas receive 58.6% more in median income than non-degree holders. They’re also 25.4% more likely to own a home.


11. New York, New York

turtix/Shutterstock

Median debt-to-income ratio: 34.1%

Degree holders in New York receive 68.9% more in median income than non-degree holders. They’re also 19.2% more likely to own a home.


10. Baltimore, Maryland

S.Borisov/Shutterstock

Median debt-to-income ratio: 32.4%

Degree holders in Baltimore receive 62.7% more in median income than non-degree holders. They’re also 20% more likely to own a home.


8 (TIE). Seattle, Washington

Median debt-to-income ratio: 26%

Degree holders in Seattle receive 65.1% more in median income than non-degree holders. They’re also 25.3% more likely to own a home.


8 (TIE). Los Angeles, California

Chones/Shutterstock

Median debt-to-income ratio: 40%

Degree holders in Los Angeles receive 64.6% more in median income than non-degree holders. They’re also 31.4% more likely to own a home.


7. Houston, Texas

Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

Median debt-to-income ratio: 37%

Degree holders in Houston receive 59.8% more in median income than non-degree holders. They’re also 49% more likely to own a home.


6. Atlanta, Georgia

ESB Professional/Shutterstock

Median debt-to-income ratio: 41.7%

Degree holders in Atlanta receive 62.7% more in median income than non-degree holders. They’re also 25.6% more likely to own a home.


5. Austin, Texas

f11photo/Shutterstock

Median debt-to-income ratio: 30.6%

Degree holders in Austin receive 69% more in median income than non-degree holders. They’re also 28.4% more likely to own a home.


4. Raleigh, North Carolina

Sharkshock/Shutterstock

Median debt-to-income ratio: 32.1%

Degree holders in Raleigh receive 72% more in median income than non-degree holders. They’re also 20.6% more likely to own a home.


3. San Francisco, California

Pius Lee/Shutterstock

Median debt-to-income ratio: 26%

Degree holders in San Francisco receive 78.9% more in median income than non-degree holders. They’re also 21.8% more likely to own a home.


2. Washington, DC

Brian Kinney/Shutterstock

Median debt-to-income ratio: 29.9%

Degree holders in Washington, DC receive 80% more in median income than non-degree holders. They’re also 26.1% more likely to own a home.


1. San Jose, California

Sundry Photography/Shutterstock

Median debt-to-income ratio: 18.6%

Degree holders in San Jose receive 83.6% more in median income than non-degree holders. They’re also 31% more likely to own a home.

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