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The Top Ten Smartest Cities in America

There are a lot of smart people in the world. Some places have higher concentrations of them than others. They tend to flock together where ideas run free and business is booming. Here are the top ten smartest cities in America:


Madison, Wisconsin

Home to the state’s best university, the University of Wisconsin, Madison has the highest proportion of college educated residents in all of the Midwest United States. Almost 48% of all residents hold some form of college degree at the Bachelor’s degree level or higher.  Many businesses are attracted to the Madison area to take advantage of the area’s high level of education. As a result, Madison is home to a number of large companies such as American Family Insurance Group, Sub-Zero & Wolf Appliance, Broadjam, CDW, and Full Compass Systems.


Charlottesville, Virginia

The University of Virginia at Charlottesville is considered to be one of the top public universities in the nation. A large concentration of medical professionals live and work in the region thanks to the cutting-edge University of Virginia Medical Center. Martha Jefferson Hospital is also another top employer.


San Francisco, California

San Francisco, California has become an economic powerhouse over the years as a result of its truly intelligent residents. Nearby University of California at Berkeley  San Francisco State University, and Mills College all fuel the labor pool. 43.4% of residents hold some sort of college degree and many hold higher professional degrees. It is also home to a number of large Fortune 500 companies including Gap, Wells Fargo, Visa, Charles Schwab, and the Gap.


Ithaca, New York

Home to Cornell University and Ithaca College, a whopping 7.9% of residents hold a Ph.D. Not only that, nearly 27.4% of the population holds at least a Master’s degree, well above the national average of just 8.9%. Also Ithaca consistently places on the list on the list of the top places to live in the United States.


San Jose, California

San Jose, home to Silicon Valley, makes the list with little surprise. It is home to dozens of high tech companies including Apple, Google, Yahoo!, and HP. Nearly 2.4% of the region’s population holds a Ph.D. Nearby, Stanford University and Santa Clara University pump out a continuous supply of top-level talent. It is home to the highest concentration of college graduates in the state of California. Nearly 45% of residents hold a college degree.


Ann Arbor, Michigan

The University of Michigan is one of the largest university in the United States. It is no wonder then why there are so may intelligent people living in the Ann Arbor area. Nearly 47.9% of the population holds a Bachelor’s degree and 4.6% of the population holds a Ph.D. It is also considered to be a very desirable place to living and consistently ranks in the top ten for the best cities to live in the United States. Ann Arbor is a booming area for high tech jobs, health service jobs, and biotechnology research jobs. The city also is home to a General Motors engineering office as well.


Boston, Massachusetts

With more than 70 universities and colleges, Boston is full of brilliant people. It also supports one of the nation’s most vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystems. Companies in the city average more than $1.5 billion in annual R&D research making it one of the top places where new technology emerges.


Washington, D.C.

The home of the nation’s capital, Washington D.C. is always quick to adopt new technology. It is here where the private sector meets the public sector. 47.3% of all people 25 years or older have a college degree. The national average is roughly 25%. It certainly helps a number of the nation’s top rated universities are nearby including Georgetown University, Howard University, and George Washington University.


Durham, North Carolina

Durham benefits from a high concentration of university faculty due to nearby Duke University. Some of the largest employers in the Durham area include IBM with nearly 13,000 employees, Nortel Networks, RTI International, and Blue Cross & Blue Shield of North Carolina. These high-profile employers tend to attract intelligent individuals and drive the local economy.


Boulder, Colorado

Boulder may be a surprising winner to many, but it is far from the ordinary university town. The 38,000 students and staff account for nearly half of the city’s population of roughly 100,000 people. The University of Colorado is one of the top public research universities in the country. Of its famous alumni are many NASA astronauts and successful businessmen. It is also a place where many graduates chose to stay when they are done with school. Boulder is widely recognized as a very exciting town to live in. It attracts young professionals and people who love the outdoors. NCAR (National Center for Atmospheric Research) has more than 120 Ph.D researchers on staff and hosts hundreds of the world’s best scientists visiting from around the world. If that all isn’t enough, Boulder is emerging as one of the top tech start up areas in the country. Consequently, it has received the nickname silicon flatirons.


Featured Image: Flickr by roger4336