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Overview of the Education of the 50 States' Leaders

by Lydia Stowe, FiscalNote

A preview of the education details of state leadership, including major, institution attended, and degrees obtained.

State leadership education

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Knowing the names, faces, and demographics of state legislature leaders is a helpful tool for government relations professionals to build relationships and create a successful state government affairs strategy. As midterm elections loom, FiscalNote released a new report to help you do just that: Your 2022 Guide to the Demographics of Statehouse Leaders.

For each state’s governor, Senate president, and House speaker, the report goes into detail on:

2022 Guide to the Demographics of Statehouse Leaders

Find out who are the individuals writing policy, shaping futures, and paving the pathways of their states.

  • Party
  • Age
  • Race
  • Birthplace
  • Education
  • Years in office

When it comes to education, the report delves into which institution each state leader attended, which degrees they obtained, and what they studied. Here are some of the general education trends we discovered about our current state governors, Senate presidents, and House speakers.

State Leaders’ Level of Education

Of all three state leadership positions combined, the average highest level of education was a bachelor’s degree, with 36 percent holding this degree. Closely following is a law degree, with 32 percent, followed by a master’s degree, with 19 percent. Only 3 percent of governors, Senate presidents, and House speakers have received a Ph.D.

Speakers of the House were most likely to hold a law degree, at 40 percent. Two state leaders did not receive a formal education beyond high school (one governor and one Senate president), while four have an associate degree and two did a certificate program after high school.

Top Areas of Education for State Leaders

Unsurprisingly, the most common area of study is political science among state leadership, with 15 percent majoring in that field for their undergraduate degree. Business, education, and public administration were also popular majors.

Overall, state leaders pursued a wide range of topical areas of study: 43 different majors in total, including veterinary medicine, automotive service, and theology.

Alma Mater of State Leaders

Overall, state leaders are very diverse in which colleges they attended, with no predominant institution forming a notable mass of governors, Senate presidents, or House speakers. However, 5.37 percent of state leaders attended Ivy League schools. To learn more about which specific universities they attended, download the full report.

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