Updated 4:58 p.m. Oct. 13
D.C. was awarded a dubious honor last week: While the District boasts the greatest number of college degree-holding residents, it also has the country’s highest illiteracy rate.
The U.S. Census Bureau released data last week reporting that 47.3 percent of D.C. residents age 25 and over hold bachelor’s, master’s, professional school or doctoral degrees. Washington ranks first nationally in this category. The national average is 25 percent. The other highest ranked cities are San Francisco, San Jose, Raleigh, N.C., and Boston. The lowest are Louisville, New Orleans, Detroit, Orlando and Cleveland.
D.C.’s high rates come from the jobs available to residents. The main field of employment for these residents is the government, but there is also a large number of doctors, lawyers and businesspeople working in D.C.
D.C.’s college students also reflect this trend, according to Phil Seden (COL ’02), a federal prosecutor and U.S. attorney for Washington.
“[Students coming to Georgetown are] applying to become a resident not only of D.C., but the capital of the free world. They are committed to being leaders,” Selden said.
Many students elect to stay in D.C. after finishing college due to finding jobs in the government sector.
But while D.C.’s college halls are filled with ambitious students, the streets reveal a different story. The District has the highest illiteracy rate in the country at 36 percent, according to a 2007 study by The State Education Agency. The national average for functional illiteracy lies at 21 percent, according to the study