The Actual U.S. States with More Colleges Than Jails

Originally posted on August 15th, 2022 • 650 words • Data

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I stumbled into an article from Studee about the U.S. States with more colleges than jails and prisons, today. The presentation is disheartening, in that the vast majority of U.S. States are afflicted with large quantities of jails and prisons.

This post is a work in progress.

While I found it interesting, I also found it inaccurate. Their article described a college as one where an individual can get a four-year degree. However, that doesn’t necessarily describe what a college is, and thus leaves out a few states.

Using the same data sources12, I re-compiled the list to include schools that offer associates degrees, too. These are mostly community and technical colleges, and by all measures, are colleges.

Tangentially, I also introduced a new variant of the data, including schools that offer certifications. Not every profession needs a college degree.

Notes

  • The original article also reviews incarceration numbers and incarceration per capita and how those stats correlate to the number of college-education people within a state.
  • When adding certificate schools, we see almost half of the United States shift to the other side of the scale. This is good, but we shouldn’t have to massage the stats that way.
  • I ultimately started down this rabbit hole because I took issue with how Studee defined a college. I felt some states were being displayed and measured incorrectly. Ultimately, adding 2-year schools only added a half-dozen states to the positive college-jail ratio.

The U.S. States That Have More Colleges than Jails and Prisons

The U.S. States that Have More Colleges and Cert Schools than Jails and Prisons

Raw Data

Two- and Four-year Comparison

State Jails/Prisons Schools Difference +/i
Alabama 147 60 -87
Alaska 27 8 -19
Arizona 36 69 33
Arkansas 95 53 -42
California 147 450 303
Colorado 81 62 -19
Connecticut 14 39 25
Delaware 4 7 3
D.C. 2 19 17
Florida 230 182 -48
Georgia 217 110 -107
Hawaii 8 17 9
Idaho 46 17 -29
Illinois 120 155 35
Indiana 110 69 -41
Iowa 105 55 -50
Kansas 106 62 -44
Kentucky 96 59 -37
Louisiana 120 57 -63
Maine 19 29 10
Maryland 49 53 4
Massachusetts 35 106 71
Michigan 108 88 -20
Minnesota 92 84 -8
Mississippi 92 34 -58
Missouri 139 96 -43
Montana 42 25 -17
Nebraska 73 33 -40
Nevada 36 22 -14
New Hampshire 16 25 9
New Jersey 28 88 60
New Mexico 39 36 -3
New York 116 302 186
North Carolina 157 135 -22
North Dakota 27 20 -7
Ohio 133 164 31
Oklahoma 117 50 -67
Oregon 50 51 1
Pennsylvania 97 197 100
Rhode Island 7 14 7
South Carolina 71 66 -5
South Dakota 32 22 -10
Tennessee 123 85 -38
Texas 313 239 -74
Utah 29 24 -5
Vermont 8 16 8
Virginia 97 108 11
Washington 71 74 3
West Virginia 24 42 18
Wisconsin 100 67 -33
Wyoming 28 9 -19

  1. https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/ 

  2. https://nicic.gov/state-statistics/2019 

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