What U.S. Cities Have the Most Brainpower? Portfolio.com Ranks the Top 200 Markets Boulder, Colorado, Ann Arbor, Michigan and Washington D.C. Top List; Texas & California Cities Rank Lowest
NEW YORK, Dec. 1, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- Portfolio.com – the national business news site for small and mid-sized business (SMB) executives – today revealed its latest U.S. Uncovered study, ranking cities according to a unique brainpower index. The study, which looked at the education levels of the residents from the 200 largest metros, named Boulder, Colorado as number one, with the strongest brainpower population.
"The United States takes pride in some of its most prestigious universities and colleges, offering the highest quality education and experience," said J. Jennings Moss, editor of Portfolio.com. "We often associate larger cities as the centers of education and culture, and therefore epicenters for the country's smartest people. However this study shows that smaller cities can attract some significant brainpower. Out of the top 10 smartest places, six of them have populations of less than one million people."
Boulder, home to the University of Colorado, is also the residence of the most well-educated population, with five out of six adults (82.5 percent) having attended college. The city also holds the record for the highest percentage of residents to earn a master's or other graduate degree (26 percent). The city's success is credited to an economic mix that places a high premium on education and is a hub for electronics, high-technology and aerospace companies.
The Most Educated Cities
Ann Arbor, Mich.
Fort Collins, Colo.
San Jose, Calif.
San Francisco-Oakland, Calif.
Colorado is the only state to have two cities in the top 10, with Fort Collins ranking as the fifth most educated city. Ann Arbor, Mich., came in second, partly due to the prominence of the University of Michigan, which is located in the city. Washington D.C., home to thousands of federal employees, lobbying organizations and major law firms ranked third.
"Several of the places that top the most educated cities list also ranked high on a previous Portfolio.com study about the best mid-size places to live, with Boulder as the #1 city for both studies," said G. Scott Thomas, a nationally-recognized demographer who participated in the analyses for Portfolio.com. "There is a strong correlation between education levels and quality of life as Boulder, Fort Collins and Ann Arbor all ranked high on our most educated and best mid-size places to live studies."
On the opposite end of the list are several Texas and California cities that have a higher amount of high school dropouts than college graduates. These cities include Bakersfield, Calif. (#196), Visalia, Calif. (#197), Brownsville, Tex. (#198) and McAllen-Edinburg, Tex. (#199). Coming in last place is Merced, Calif., with 34 percent of the population not graduating from high school and only 11.3 percent earning a bachelor's degree.
The large metros with the lowest rankings are Las Vegas (#159), Memphis (#142), San Antonio (#140), and Tampa-St. Petersburg (#134).
The study used data from the American Community Survey, which was conducted in 2009 and released in September 2010 by the U.S. Census Bureau. It established scores for five levels of educational attainment, based on the relative earning power of adult workers (age 25 or older). Scores were determined by comparing the 2007 median income for all workers ($33,452) with the median income for those workers at a specified educational level. The five categories were: dropped out before high school graduation; stopped at high school diploma; stopped at an associate's degree or attended college but stopped before earning degree; stopped at a bachelor's degree and earned a graduate or professional degree. Each adult was assigned a score, based on his or her highest level of education attained by averaging the points within a market, yielding a raw figure that was converted to a final score.
The U.S. Uncovered series provides original, insightful analysis of the American lifestyle and business trends of interest to the highly lucrative market of small- and mid-sized business executives, who will fuel the country's economic recovery over the next five years. Most recently, the U.S. Uncovered revealed the cities with the "Highest Income Growth," ranking El Paso as the city with the most growth potential. The series also disclosed the rankings of the "Most Stressful Place in America," ranking Detroit as the most stressful city; "Best Mid-size Places to Live" ranking Boulder, CO as the small city with the highest quality of life; "Best Big Places to Live," ranking Raleigh as #1; "Best Cities to have fun," ranking New York City as #1; "Top U.S. Wealth Centers," naming Newport Beach as #1; "Small Business Vitality," naming Texas the best state and Austin the top city for small business; and "Best Places for Young Adults," naming the Southwestern region the new frontier for young Americans with Austin as #1.
Portfolio.com is the national business news site for small and mid-sized business executives. Comprising original, in-depth reporting, thought-provoking insights, colorful features, exclusive analysis of custom research, and an intelligent business-news filtering tool, Portfolio.com is the first national business media outlet dedicated solely to delivering actionable news and information to this coveted audience. Portfolio.com relaunched in December 2009 as the information destination for business executives, insiders and strategists within the growing and profitable American City Business Journals.
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