Brain power concentrated in smaller U.S. cities: poll

Wed Dec 1, 2010 12:47pm EST
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NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Forget New York, Chicago and even Los Angeles, brain power in the United States is concentrated in smaller cities with Boulder, Colorado and Ann Arbor, Michigan at the top of the list.

Boulder, home to the University of Colorado, has the smartest population in the country with 26 percent of its residents holding a master's or graduate degree and 82.5 percent having attended college.

Ann Arbor came in second in the survey compiled by the national business news website followed by Durham in North Carolina, Washington D.C. and Fort Collins in Colorado.

"We often associate larger cities as the centers of education and culture, and therefore epicenters for the country's smartest people," said J. Jennings Moss, editor of

"However this study shows that smaller cities can attract some significant brain power. Out of the top 10 smartest places, six of them have populations of less than one million people."

The ranking is based on education levels of the residents from the 200 largest cities using information from The American Community Survey and data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

In addition to the University of Colorado, Boulder also has many electronics, high-technology and aerospace companies.

The Bridgeport-Stamford area of Connecticut, San Jose in California, Boston, Madison in Wisconsin and San Francisco/Oakland in northern California rounded out the 10 brainiest cities.

At the other end of the scale, Merced, California, with 34 percent of its population not graduating from high school and only 11.3 percent with a college degree, came in last in the poll. Bakersfield and Visalia, both in California, and the Texas cities of Brownsville and McAllen-Edinburg, also placed at the bottom of the survey.