A publication of the Indiana Business Research Center at IU's Kelley School of Business
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Indiana's degree attainment by place of birth

Rachel Strange
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More people living in Indiana have a bachelorís or graduate level degree relative to 2006.

Over the past decade, Indiana has seen increases in the number of Hoosiers with at least some college or higher, based on the American Community Survey one-year estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau (see Figure 1).

Figure 1: All Indiana residents (age 25+) by educational attainment, 2006 and 2016

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Source: U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey one-year estimates

In this article, we take a fast look at educational attainment by place of birth to see how this facet of the data has changed over the past 10 years (2006 to 2016). Note: We focus primarily on bachelor's and higher degrees since associate degree attainment is unfortunately grouped together with "some college."

In 2016, nearly 53 percent of native Hoosiers (i.e., those people who were born in Indiana and still live here) had at least some college experience—an increase of almost 7 percentage points since 2006. Almost 23 percent of those born in Indiana who still live here have either a bachelor’s or higher degree (see Figure 2).

Figure 2: Educational attainment levels for those born in Indiana who still live in the state

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Source: U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey one-year estimates

Meanwhile, 60 percent of those who were born in another U.S. state and now live in Indiana have at least some college experience—with 31 percent having either a bachelor’s or higher degree (see Figure 3).

Figure 3: Educational attainment levels for those living in Indiana who were born in another U.S. state

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Source: U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey one-year estimates

Even though a higher percentage of those from other states have degrees, native Hoosiers still account for 59 percent of those with a bachelor’s degree and half of all those with a graduate or professional degree in Indiana (see Table 1).

Table 1: Indiana educational attainment levels by place of birth

  Estimate Percent of total**
2016 Margin of Error 2006 Margin of Error 2016 Margin of Error 2006 Margin of Error
Bachelor's degree
Total with a bachelor’s degree 716,293 +/-12,562 561,008 +/-10,311 100.0 100.0
Born in state of residence 419,776 +/-10,129 324,323 +/-8,096 58.6 +/-1.0 57.8 +/-1.0
Born in other state in the United States 245,799 +/-7,831 203,273 +/-6,220 34.3 +/-0.9 36.2 +/-0.9
Native; born outside the United States* 6,151 +/-1,429 5,713 +/-1,627 0.9 +/-0.2 1.0 +/-0.3
Foreign born 44,567 +/-3,913 27,699 +/-2,781 6.2 +/-0.5 4.9 +/-0.5
Graduate or professional degree
Total with an advanced degree 408,553 +/-9,679 330,481 +/-9,251 100.0 100.0
Born in state of residence 203,024 +/-8,082 162,454 +/-6,473 49.7 +/-1.6 49.2 +/-1.4
Born in other state in the United States 161,212 +/-6,142 135,879 +/-5,844 39.5 +/-1.2 41.1 +/-1.3
Native; born outside the United States* 3,499 +/-1,111 2,742 +/-739 0.9 +/-0.3 0.8 +/-0.2
Foreign born 40,818 +/-3,286 29,406 +/-2,893 10.0 +/-0.8 8.9 +/-0.8

* The differences between years for “native, born outside the U.S.” are not statistically significant.
**For the percentages, the only values that are statistically different between 2006 and 2016 are bachelor’s degree “born in other state” and “foreign born.”
Source: U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey one-year estimates

Summary

More people living in Indiana today have a bachelor’s or graduate-level degree relative to 2006. At the same time, each place of birth category has seen increases, which can be viewed as a positive sign. This quick look at the data only skims the surface of what’s available from the American Community Survey (and for county and city data, you can look for this using the five-year estimates). For more detail, access the “place of birth by educational attainment” data (Table B06009) on American FactFinder.