The Roundup

Oklahoma Running Out of Smart People

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Posted 01.26.12

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Oklahoma ranked No. 3 in a list of “10 states running out of smart people,” according to, a Jacksonville, Florida, news station. “24/7 Wall Street looked at reading and math scores, graduation rates and white collar job numbers to determine the 10 states with the lowest education achievement and job levels compared to others—in other words, the states running out of smart people,” the station reported.

The original study was published in February of last year, but News4Jax, which has sister stations in Houston and Orlando that also published the story, just picked it up this week.

“There are several states in the U.S. that are losing the education race to most of the others,” 24/7 Wall St. wrote. “In the past decade, these states have declining math and reading scores, lower numbers of people with bachelor’s degrees, and comparatively fewer residents who hold white collar jobs.”

About Oklahoma, researchers wrote: “The best Oklahoma performed in any of our metrics was 33rd, for a slight increase in the population with jobs requiring college educations. In every other category, the state experienced significant relative and actual decreases. Oklahoma had the sixth-worst decline in reading scores. Between 2000 and 2009, 39 states had better increases in adults with bachelors degrees, and 45 had better increases in advanced degrees.”

Oklahoma ranks 42nd for number of people with a bachelor’s degree or higher (22.7 percent of the population), and 37th for percentage of population with white-collar careers (11.8 percent).

The 10 states running out of smart people are:


2. Michigan

3. Oklahoma

4. Idaho

5. Alaska

6. Arizona

7. Wyoming

8. Iowa

9. Texas

10. Utah

On a related note, StateImpact Oklahoma recently reported that Oklahoma ranks 12th in cuts to higher education funding. However, enrollment has increased by 16,000 in four years.

Not all of Oklahoma is suffering, of course. Just today, Tulsa was ranked No. 21 on Central Connecticut State University’s list of “most literate cities.”

“Central Connecticut State University looked at factors including a city’s number of book stores and libraries, newspaper circulation, Internet resources, educational attainment and number of magazine publishers,” KJRH reported. “Tulsa scores highest on library resources ranking 12th in the nation and the city scores high in magazine publishers at 16th place.”

Oklahoma City ranked 49th.

Holly Wall, News Editor