February 8 2017

How Smart is the Capital Region? It Ranks 13th in the NE for Degree Attainment

It Ranks 13th in the NE for Degree Attainment

More College Grads Needed to Rival Major Tech Hubs

As New York State continues to identify ways to attract more college graduates to upstate, the Capital Region already has a head start in developing a high concentration of very educated workers – one of the highest in the state. However, for the region to rank better among other technology hubs across the country, it will need an even greater influx of the college graduates.

One out of three adults 25 years of age and older in the eight-county region (32.9 percent) have a bachelor’s degree or higher. At 39 percent, Saratoga County had the highest concentration of degree holders in this age range – and the sixth highest in the state.

Even more, the Albany-Schenectady-Troy metropolitan statistical area (MSA) has the Northeast’s 13th – and nation’s 56th – highest concentration of residents at least 25 years old with a bachelor’s degree or higher. The area ranks even higher for its concentration of people in this age range with master’s and doctorate degrees, according to a Center for Economic Growth (CEG) analysis of new U.S. Census Bureau data.

Bachelor’s Degree and Higher Concentrations

Between 2011 and 2015, the Albany-Schenectady-Troy MSA had an estimated average 207,677 adults who were at least 25 years old and had a bachelor’s degree or higher (master’s, professional, doctorate), or 34.7 percent of all adults in that age range. In the Northeast, that placed the Albany-Schenectady-Troy MSA right behind the Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington MSA (34.8 percent) and in front of the New Haven-Milford MSA (34 percent). The Ithaca MSA ranked first, with 50.8 percent of its adults 25 years of age and older holding a bachelor’s degree or higher.

Looking beyond the Northeast and focusing on biotechnology and semiconductor hubs across the country, higher education attainment levels in the Albany-Schenectady-Troy MSA  were in league with the San Diego-Carlsbad MSA (35.7 percent) and Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington (32.5 percent) MSAs. However, degree holder concentrations were much higher in the San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara (47.1 percent), San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward (45.6 percent) and Boston-Cambridge-Newton (44.6 percent) MSAs.

Master’s & Doctorate Concentrations

The Albany-Schenectady-Troy MSA was home to an estimated 26,781 adults aged 25 years or older with a master’s degree and 4,613 with a doctorate degree, according to the 2015 five-year estimates. That means one in 10 (11 percent) of adults in the metro area had a master’s degree and one in 50 (1.9 percent) had a doctorate degree. In regard to both master’s and doctorate degree holder concentrations, the Albany-Schenectady-Troy MSA ranked eighth out of 50 Northeast metros.

Talent Pipeline

The Capital Region is home to 21 traditional higher education, degree-awarding institutions. Fall enrollment for the 2015 school year was 57,140 undergraduates and 8,867 graduate students, totaling 66,007, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. These institutions serve as a talent pipeline for Capital Region employers.

That is why Capital 20.20, the region’s five-year economic development plan, calls for a Partnership for Talent Aligned to Employer’s Needs for Tomorrow (TALENT) program, under which higher education institutions are engaged to ensure they create and deliver the job training that job seekers need. The plan also calls for a Regional Cradle-to-Career Pipeline that looks to expand STEM and other high potential programs at the K-12 and post-high school levels.

From conducting skill-gap analyses to organizing the annual Girls in STEM event, CEG has continuously striven to ensure the Capital Region has a workforce with the education and skills necessary for the economy to thrive. CEG’s efforts on these fronts will continue in 2017.




For more information, contact CEG Director of Research and Communications James Schlett at jamess@ceg.org. Don’t miss these insights into the trends that are shaping the Capital Region’s economy. Sign up for CEG’s e-news.

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