Discover the 6 of the Most Educated Places in Pennsylvania

Westchester, PA
© Padula Aerial Imaging/Shutterstock.com

Written by Alanna Davis

Published: February 13, 2024

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Pennsylvania is among the smartest of American states, ranking at #16 according to the World Population Review. However, have you ever been curious about the places within Pennsylvania with the highest educational achievement? Throughout the country, several factors seem to affect the average level of education in a given area. The most influential are a person’s proximity to major urban centers, the average age of the population in a given area, employment rates, and average household income. These same themes hold true for locations within Pennsylvania with a large number of educated individuals living there. Level of education is measured by the number of individuals living in a certain area and their highest degree obtained. All data cited was collected from statistics provided by the United States Census Bureau.

1. Bethlehem

Street scene at night in downtown Bethlehem Pa over the holiday season in winter.

Bethlehem, Pennsylvania is huge on Christmas festivities.

©Carol Bell/Shutterstock.com

The average American town is home to about 30% of residents with college-level education. However, Bethlehem is home to 34% of residents with bachelor’s degrees or higher. This is unsurprising, as Bethlehem is home to Lehigh University, one of the most prestigious colleges throughout the state. Students travel from far and wide to study here, and it’s easy to see why. Aside from education, residents here don’t have enough good things to say about this town. In fact, some even call it the best place to live in the entire state of Pennsylvania. The cost of living is affordable, the job market has many opportunities, and people from many different cultural backgrounds call Bethlehem home.

2. Bellevue

The Pennsylvania state flag waving along with the national flag of the United States of America. In the background there is a clear sky. Pennsylvania is a U.S. state in the northeast

Bellevue is a short drive from Pittsburgh, making it a very convenient location to live.

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The population of Bellevue in 2022 was recorded to be roughly 8,000 individuals. Although this suburb might be small and quiet, the residents here are among some of the most educated throughout Pennsylvania. Roughly 45% of individuals living here have obtained a bachelor’s degree or higher and almost 96% of residents completed their high school education. The percentage of poverty is incredibly low at just 7.5%, and the median household income is comfortable at $61,000. Generally speaking, residents are able to support themselves on the salary they make, and there’s no question that high educational attainment plays a role in that.

3. State College

State College. Pennsylvania. USA on a map

State College has an undeniably young feel. Entertainment, shopping, and restaurants here are some of the best in the surrounding area.

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As the name of this town suggests, State College is home to Penn State University. Because of this, it is no surprise that the population living here is comprised of an impressive 71% of college graduates. However, because State College is a college town, factors like median income and poverty are skewed compared to other entries on this list. A large portion of residents here are not in the workforce, or if they are, they’re working part-time in addition to their studies. In addition, the population is very young, and most residents living here are about 21.5 years old according to Data USA.

4. Bethel Park

purple clouds over Mt. Bethel, Pennsylvania

Residents of Bethel Park have overwhelmingly positive things to say about living in this town.

©Drumiel/Shutterstock.com

Located near Pittsburgh, Bethel Park is home to an impressive 51% of college graduates. However, this isn’t the only impressive statistic about this municipality. The median household income in Bethel Park is over 100,000, and the poverty rate is among the lowest in the state at just 4.7%. Much like Bellevue, Bethel Park is a suburb located in the Pittsburgh area. However, its population is about three times larger at about 33,000 individuals. Many people describe Bethel Park as one of the best places to live throughout the state, and it’s easy to see why. Residents can reap the benefits of being located close to a city while still enjoying a cozy, small-town feel.

5. West Chester

Westchester, PA

Not only is West Chester one of the most educated places in Pennsylvania, it’s also one of the most beautiful.

©Padula Aerial Imaging/Shutterstock.com

Chester County has been repeatedly cited as one of the most educated places throughout the entire state of Pennsylvania. However, it’s also one of the most expensive, and it seems that taxpayer dollars here go straight back into the quality of education. West Chester boasts roughly 55% of college graduates. The population is steadily growing each year, and more college-educated adults starting families here means that the next generation will have a strong incentive to follow in their parents’ footsteps. The importance of a four-year degree is not lost on first-generation students here either. The high cost of living and job market requirements make going to college a no-brainer for many.

AreaPercentage of College Graduates
Bethehem34%
Bellevue45%
State College71%
Bethel Park51%
West Chester55%


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About the Author

Alanna is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering insects, animals, and travel. In addition to writing, she spends her time tutoring English and exploring the east end of Long Island. Prior to receiving her Bachelor's in Economics from Stony Brook University, Alanna spent much of her time studying entomology and insect biology.

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