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States with most college students as a percentage of population

Measured against its overall population, New Hampshire has the highest percentage of college students.

Fall 2017 enrollment in U.S. degree-granting higher-education institutions was 18,811,280, according to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center.

Not surprisingly, the states with the most college students enrolled tend to be the largest states, and those with the fewest students enrolled tend to be the smallest states.

But when the student numbers are compared with the overall population of a state, the states with the highest percentage of college students tend to be smaller ones.

Using U.S. Census estimates for July 2017, New Hampshire tops the list—the 147,773 students enrolled in New Hampshire institutions equates to 11 percent of the state population (1,342,795). Nationally, the 18,811,280 college students represent 5.78 percent of the U.S. population (325,719,178).

Here are the 10 states that had the highest percentage of college students enrolled compared with overall population.

RankStatePopulation July 2017College students enrolled in state, fall 2017College students in state as percentage of state population
1New Hampshire1,342,795147,77311.00%
2Washington D.C.693,97273,92510.65%
3Utah3,101,833317,83910.25%
4West Virginia1,815,857144,7177.97%
5North Dakota755,39351,0846.76%
6Kansas 2,913,123193,7336.65%
7Nebraska1,920,076127,5266.64%
8Rhode Island1,059,63969,5436.56%
9Minnesota5,576,606362,4166.50%
10Massachusetts6,859,819444,6706.48%
Source: National Student Clearinghouse Research Center and U.S. Census Bureau
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