CLARKSBURG, W.Va. – WalletHub named West Virginia as the second-best state for racial equality in education despite having the third whitest population in the nation. 93.1% of West Virginians are “white alone,” according to 2019 Census data.
WalletHub ranked states by comparing statistics on white people and Black people in six areas: adults with at least a high school degree, adults with at least a Bachelor’s degree, standardized test scores, mean SAT score, average ACT score, and public high school graduation rate. A particular emphasis was placed on the share of adults with at least a Bachelor’s degree.
|Overall Rank||State||Total Score out of 100|
West Virginia tied with at least five other states on the lowest gap in the “Share of Adults with at Least a High School Degree” category. The other four states that share the number one spot are Texas, California, Wyoming, and New Mexico. 87.6% of West Virginians over 25 are at least a high school graduate, according to 2020 Census data.
“One of the reasons West Virginia is the second-best state for racial equality in education is the fact that it has more Black people than white people with at least a high school degree,” said WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez. “Plus, the differences in standardized test scores and SAT scores between Black and white population are between 6-11 percentage points, among the lowest in the country.”
In fact, West Virginia did exceptionally well in all three testing categories. The Mountain State has the second-lowest gap in standardized-test scores and mean SAT scores and the third lowest gap in average ACT scores. In all three of those categories, New Hampshire took the number one spot. According to US Census data, New Hampshire has the fourth-highest white population at 92.6%.
In terms of education level, West Virginia ranked fourth in both the lowest gap in the share of adults with at least a high school degree and the lowest gap in public high school graduation rate. Only 21% of West Virginians older than 25 have a Bachelor’s degree or higher, which is the lowest rate in the country, according to US Census data. Also, the Mountain State ranks 44th in the country for the percentage of people who graduated high school, but the state currently has one of the highest graduation rates (91%), according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
Adjusted cohort graduation rate (ACGR) for public high school students, by state and categorized into specific ranges: 2018–19
Further information on WalletHub’s methodology is available on its website.