Residents with advanced degrees: 11.6% of population
Residents with some college education: 60.2%
"Live free or die" is written on the New Hampshire license plate, and it also sums up the state's do-it-yourself, entrepreneurial culture. Residents pay no sales tax or state income tax.
Dartmouth College and the University of New Hampshire are just two of the higher-education institutions that attract smart people to the state. "Per capita, we are pretty well served," says Gregg Fairbrothers, an adjunct professor at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth. "[The state] really does have a great, full spectrum of educational opportunities."
Like many states without giant urban hubs, New Hampshire benefits from fairly egalitarian higher-education access. Its workforce -- more homogenous than that of more diverse states like New York and California -- is also more evenly educated.
"If you look at the demographics and environment in New Hampshire, it is almost inevitable that it is going to bubble up toward the top," he said.
And like other scenic states with rife with outdoor recreations, New Hampshire tends to draw students who stay put. "At Dartmouth, it is almost ubiquitous they come and want to stay," Fairbrothers says. "It is almost cultish. I am a living example."