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Guess Which State Is Home to Five of America's Least-Educated Cities

“[T]hese cities are stuck in a vicious cycle."

Image via Google Maps

California may be home to Hollywood and Silicon Valley, but there's more to the Golden State than bright lights and technology.

The state is also home to five of America's 10 least-educated cities.

Using National Center for Education Statistics data, 24/7 Wall St. ranked America's least educated cities based on the number of adults age 25 or older who have a bachelor's degree or higher in each metro area.

The most highly educated city in America: Boulder, Colorado, where 58.5 percent of adults have at least a bachelors' degree (and home to a large number of scientific institutes).

The least-educated U.S. city: Lake Havasu City, Arizona, where 11.3 percent of adults have a bachelor's degree or higher.

Lake Havasu City, Arizona, the least educated city in America. (Image via John Menard/flickr) Lake Havasu City, Arizona, the least educated city in America. (Image via John Menard/flickr)

Check out the map below to see the least-educated metro areas across the country:

Many of the nation's least-educated cities are agricultural hubs; four of the five California cities on the list are in the state's agriculture-dependent Central Valley.

California's agricultural-dependent Central Valley is home to four of the nation's least educated cities. (Image via Ken Lund/flickr) California's agricultural-dependent Central Valley is home to four of the nation's least educated cities. (Image via Ken Lund/flickr)

Other cities on the list are home to large numbers of non-citizens, who historically have lower rates of educational attainment than American citizens, 24/7 Wall St. noted.

Migrant workers in California. (Image via Bob Nichols/USDA/flickr) Migrant workers in California. (Image via Bob Nichols/USDA/flickr)

“[T]hese cities are stuck in a vicious cycle," Pedro Noguera, professor of education at New York University, said of the nation's least educated metros.

With low levels of educational attainment, these cities struggle to attract high-paying jobs, which in turn leads to “young people moving away from the area as soon as they graduate from high school,” Noguera said.

Here's where California's cities fell on the list from 24/7 Wall St.:

9. Merced, California

Bachelor’s degree or higher: 13.5 percent

Median household income: $40,687 (54th lowest)

Median earnings - bachelor’s degree: $41,719 (116th lowest)

Median earnings - high school diploma: $32,000

Poverty rate: 25.2 percent (13th highest)

Less than 68 percent of adults living in Merced had finished high school, compared to 87 per cent nationwide.

Nearly 16 percent of the population did not have U.S. citizenship last year - one of the highest percentages nationwide. Non-citizens are less likely to attend college.

8. Visalia-Porterville, California

Bachelor’s degree or higher: 13.3 percent

Median household income: $39,422 (29th lowest)

Median earnings – bachelor’s degree: $50,569 (73rd highest)

Median earnings - high school diploma: $20,515

Poverty rate: 30.1 per cent (4th highest)

Nearly 19 percent of the workforce were employed in agricultural sectors, versus just 2 percent nationwide.

6. Madera, California

Bachelor’s degree or higher: 13.0 percent

Median household income: $39,758 (36th lowest)

Median earnings – bachelor’s degree: $49,994 (90th highest)

Poverty rate: 23.6 percent (21st highest)

Once had a flourishing lumber industry, Madera now has a diversified agricultural industry.

Like several other cities with low educational attainment rates, Madera also has a relatively large immigrant population. Last year, an estimated 16.2 percent of the area population were not U.S. citizens, one of the highest percentages nationwide.

5. Hanford-Corcoran, California

Bachelor’s degree or higher: 12.9 percent (tied-4th lowest)

Median household income: $45,774 (144th lowest)

Median earnings – bachelor’s degree: $46,719 (138th highest)

Poverty rate: 21.4 percent (47th highest)

More than 17 per cent of Hanford’s workforce is employed in the agriculture, forestry, and mining industries.

3. El Centro, California

Bachelor’s degree or higher: 12.7 percent

Median household income: $43,310 (91st lowest)

Median earnings – bachelor’s degree: $52,546 (38th highest)

Poverty rate: 22.1 percent (34th highest)

Last year, more than 18 percent of El Centro’s population were non-citizens, the third highest percentage nationwide.

See the complete list of least-educated cities at 24/7 Wall St. here.

(H/T: Daily Mail)

Follow Zach Noble (@thezachnoble) on Twitter

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