Two recent lists place Alabama at 46th in the country in “Most & Least Educated States” and 10th in “Best States to Drive In.”
WalletHub, a financial and analytics website, compiled the two lists and released them earlier this week.
The “2020’s Most & Least Educated States in America” research, which calls Alabama the 46th most educated state, surveys adults aged 25 and older. It considers the different levels of school they completed as well as quality of public schools and universities, dropout rates, teacher quality and turnover, and gaps in racial and gender achievement.
WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez said she believes by improving aspects of the high school experience and keeping more students from dropping out, Alabama could improve its rank.
“Instead of finding [other] opportunities – maybe smaller classroom sizes, homeschool opportunities or online classes, which a lot of states have found success in – they’re just dropping out instead,” she said. “They don’t have those other opportunities, because there’s simply not enough resources in terms of the teachers.”
She also said with fewer in-state career opportunities, Alabama offers lower incentive to its students to pursue degrees and to its graduates to work in-state when they finish school.
As for its driving figures, she said the state scores high in metrics like driving costs, traffic congestion and infrastructure. Other data takes into account weather, car theft rate, car washes per capita, etc.
As for its safety category, Alabama comes in 43rd.
“Strictness of DUI punishment in Alabama is not that strict, and I think because of that we do see more DUI’s and DUI fatalities,” Gonzalez said. “So on government’s part, they can make DUI punishment a little more strict after a first offense, after a second offense.”
Neighboring states to beat out Alabama in the driving category include Tennessee, North Carolina, Georgia and Arkansas, with Iowa in the top spot.
Behind Alabama in the education list are Arkansas at 47th, Louisiana at 48th, West Virginia at 49th and Mississippi at 50th.