America’s Brainiest Cities

Boulder, Colo., is the most educated city in the U.S., according to 24/7 Wall St. What cities make up the remainder of America’s top 10 smartest cities’ list? And what cities have the dubious distinction of landing on the list of the least educated cities?

America’s Brainiest Cities Photo (cc) by Ken Lund

More Americans are going to college these days than ever before. In fact, as of last year, nearly 30 percent of Americans age 25 and older had earned a bachelor’s degree.

So, what is America’s most educated city? According to an analysis by 24/7 Wall St., nearly 3 in 5 Boulder, Colo., residents have attained a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, earning Boulder the distinction of being the smartest city in the U.S.

24/7 Wall St. said America’s most educated cities have at least one thing in common:

At least one major academic institution was located in all of the most educated U.S. cities. According to [Pedro] Noguera [professor of education at New York University], many graduates choose to remain in their college’s city, adding to the numbers of college-educated adults. In addition, since “there are many highly educated people, employers who rely upon a more highly skilled and highly educated pool of employees are drawn to those areas.” This can both encourage recent local graduates to remain in the city, as well as encourage other well-educated people to move there.

Here are the 10 most educated cities in the U.S.:

  1. Boulder, Colo. — 58.5 percent have earned a bachelor’s degree or higher.
  2. Ann Arbor, Mich. — 53.5 percent.
  3. Corvallis, Ore. — 52.2 percent.
  4. Ithaca, N.Y. — 50.9 percent.
  5. Lawrence, Kan. — 50.4 percent.
  6. Iowa City, Iowa — 48.6 percent.
  7. Ames, Iowa — 48.2 percent.
  8. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif. — 46.7 percent.
  9. Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, Conn. — 45.5 percent.
  10. Durham-Chapel Hill, N.C. — 45.5 percent.

Not surprisingly, cities with high college attainment rates typically have higher median household incomes. Among the cities populating America’s most educated cities list, household incomes were in line with, or much higher than, the national median income of $52,250 for 2013, 24/7 Wall St. said.

On the other end of the spectrum, just 11.3 percent of residents of Lake Havasu City-Kingman, Ariz., have earned a bachelor’s degree or higher, earning the city the dubious distinction of the least educated city in the U.S.

Click here to see who else made the list of America’s least educated cities.

Are you surprised to see which cities topped the most educated (and least educated) lists for the U.S.? Share your thoughts below or on our Facebook page.

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