Paul Revere by Cyrus Dallin, North End, Boston

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RIP Ben Bradlee

RIP Ben Bradlee
One of our nation's best.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

AMERICA'S SMARTEST CITIES

The Daily Beast conducted its own study which rates American cities for their "smarts."  Here are the criteria TDB used to determine which of the 55 American cities rated deserve the designation as "smartest:"

"We only ranked metropolitan areas (the cities and their suburbs) of 1 million people or more, using Census data, with the definition of each greater metropolitan area defined by Nielsen. That gave us 55 in all. All data was then organized on a per-capita basis, so that a resident of Norfolk, Virginia, and New York, New York, had equal weight. We’re looking for the brainiest cities, not the biggest.

Then we divided the criteria into two halves: Half for education, and half for intellectual environment. The education half encompassed how many residents had bachelor’s degrees (35 percent weighting) and graduate degrees (15 percent). No credit was given for “some college,” or “some grad school”—we rewarded those who finished the race. The intellectual environmental half had three subparts. First, we looked at nonfiction book sales (25 percent), as tracked by Nielsen BookScan, the nation’s leading provider of accurate point-of-sale data, which tracks roughly 300,000 titles each week. We focused on nonfiction as an imperfect proxy for intellectual vigor, because overall sales are dominated by fiction works that, while entertaining, aren’t always particularly thought-provoking. We also measured the ratio of institutions of higher education (15 percent), as defined by the federal government—different than just measuring college degrees, this acknowledges that universities don’t just churn out diplomas, but instead drive the intellectual vigor of cities. 

Finally, many studies link intelligence and political engagement, so we weighed this, too, as measured by the percentage of eligible voters who cast ballots in the last presidential election (10 percent). (Our relatively small weighting acknowledges that numerous other local factors can affect turnout.)

Once we had all these comparable, per-capita figures, we ranked the cities in each category, assigning 10 points to those near the very top, and 0 to the bottom, with scores allocated between in a broad bell curve. We then added the totals, and multiplied by two, which made for a perfect score of 200, a wash-out score of 0, and an average score right at 100—close to the exact parameters of a classic IQ test."


CONGRATULATIONS TO THE TOP 5 SMARTEST CITIES IN AMERICA:


#1  Raleigh-Durham, NC
#2  San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose, CA
#3  BOSTON, MA!*

#4  Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN
#5  Denver, CO


*



#3, BOSTON
Image: AP Photo
Metro Area Population: 4,522,858

Daily Beast IQ Score: 162


The Boston area is home to more than 100 universities, so it’s easy to understand why it ranked near the top for graduate degrees per capita. It’s the capital of Massachusetts, drawing in brains that way, too. A competitive intellectual atmosphere may also account for the area ranking in the top 10 percent in nonfiction book sales. “When you go into somebody’s office or you go into their home, one of the things you case out is their bookshelf,” says Fiery Cushman, a postdoctoral fellow in psychology at Harvard University. “Bostonians have unrealistic expectations about how much reading they can get done.”



The bottom 5, sad to say, are, according to TDB's criteria, these cities:


#51  Memphis, TN
#52  Louisville, KY
#53  San Antonio, TX
#54  Las Vegas, NV
#55  Fresno, CA

Read all the reviews at this link.

23 comments:

James Manning said...

GO WHITE SOX... oh sorry, they suck. GO DODGERS!!!!

Shaw Kenawe said...

James! Long time no see. How are you?

White Sox are my second favorite bb team. But Please excuse me if I can't say that about football and THE BEARS!

I'm a Patriot fan, then Denver, then The 'Niners.

Glad to see you here.

Toad734 said...

I get Raleigh-Durham, San Fran and Boston but not really the other two.

Whew, good thing my hometown isn't on the bottom list.

Pamela D. Hart said...

But Pittsburgh was voted the MOST livable city! Plus we are the city of Champions--Penguins AND Steelers...not that I watch any of the games, just thought I throw that out there. The G20 was held here AND they want to do it again in 3 years! Oh goodie! **rolls eyes**

Dave Miller said...

If i didn't know better, I'd think you were making a statement about Las Vegas.

This has been much discussed here in "Sin City."

Unfortunately, it has been hard to convince people of the need for education when casino or construction jobs were plentiful and paid well.

Now neither one of those two things are true here.

What is true is that our esteemed governor is advocating for significantly lower spending at all education levels, with some proposals seeking more than a 30% reduction in primary and secondary education, while at the same time arguing that we should not raise taxes at all.

I am not sure how we can improve our lot in this study, but hey, we're not as bad as Fresno

TRUTH 101 said...

I talked to Ozzie and convinced him to throw the season. I didn't want my White Sox beating the Red Sox and breaking Shaw's heart.

Shaw Kenawe said...

Pam,

Pittsburgh tied with Los Angeles at number 27, which places the two cities in the middle.

I've only landed in Denver on my way to California, so I know nothing about it. My brother's son lives there, and he loves it.

Someone from the Minneapolis-St. Paul area will have to enlighten us as to why that area is in the top 5, since I've never had the pleasure of visiting there.

I have nothing against Las Vegas. I had a great visit there a few years ago to see all the fake wonders of gambling. LOL! It's not exactly my kind of town. But I appreciate all the effort it has made to attract Americans to spend their $$$ there.

I preferred Yosemite, which I visited on the trip out to the west coast and the stop-over in Las Vegas.

Sublime.

As was the Mojave Desert--Joshua Tree National Park. Wonderous.

Shaw Kenawe said...

TRUTH 101,

LOL! What do I owe you for that?

TAO said...

Great, I live an hour and a half due south of Louisville and four hours east of Memphis...

Probably explains a lot of things...

Shaw Kenawe said...

TAO,

I've visited Louisville many times. I have friends who live there. I found it to be a charming, cultured city. I have no idea why it's in the bottom 5.

I've spent time in Nashville [my brother lives in Hendersonville, TN] but I've never been to Memphis. But I understood Memphis to be a fun place to visit.

You have to look at The Daily Beast's criteria to figure out why those cities are in the bottom 5.

Personally, I found the areas of Kentucky I visited to be beautiful and friendly.

But what do I know...

dmarks said...

Memphis is a great place to visit, but it has an awfully high crime rate.

Handsome B. Wonderful said...

Go Denver!! We have a lot of college educated citizens and have for some time. They seem to come here over other places because of the mountains and 300 some days of sun a year. Even in the winter. At least that's what people tell me who've moved here from other places.

Yet all those educated people make for some problems in recessions like this. That's because you have people with a Bachelor's degree competing with people with Phds for jobs.

So as a company, why would you hire a high school grad or a person with an undergrad degree when you can hire a Phd?

Still it is nice to live in a smart area.

TRUTH 101 said...

Should I ever make it back to Boston I fully expect a guided tour of the Revolutionary stuff. Old North Church. The Constitution.(The Ship) Paul Revere's house. etc. I'll buy lunch or dinner.

TRUTH 101 said...

Good to see graduates are struggling in Denver HBW. My daughter's boyfriend and his math degree have landed him his first job interview.



At freaking KMART!

Is this a great economy or what?

Shaw Kenawe said...

TRUTH 101,

I live on the same street as Paul Revere's house, two doors away.

I have to say, as good a neighbor as I believe I have been, he NEVER COMES TO VISIT ME!

And I wouldn't expect us to go to a restaurant. I know how to serve up a great meal. Last night it was lasagna Bolognese, served with a side of sauted rapini greens, cherry tomatoes, and pignole nuts. For dessert, a bosc pear tart with a yogurt lemon dressing.

All homemade.

Everybody eats when they come to my house.

Jim said...

O, for shame, a most biased list! My great hometown of Houston only rated at 46, a tie with Orlando! Yikes!

Houston has Rice U, the Harvard of the South. Not to mention the largest Medical Center in the world with the best cancer research. Medical degrees don't count I suppose. The University of Houston is there as well. The best independent football program ever in the 60's and 70's (sorry Miami Hurricanes).

Just what is wrong with having a degree in petroleum? Engineering degree bias maybe?

Better luck next time.

Jim said...

SK, you made my mouth water! Next time I'm near Boston is the invite open for me? ;-)

TRUTH 101 said...

You sound like my Aunt Molly from Boston. Therabouts anyway Shaw. My brother went to college there and ate at her house twice a week. Gained over a hundred pounds in a year.

Jim said...

And another thing about Houston from some homies, ZZ Top.

Gordon said...

All I can say about the Minneapolis/St Paul metro area is that there are a lot of colleges, and a lot of bookstores. But what would I know? I'm one of those "some college" people who don't count.

We're still high in tech innovation with 3M and Honeywell and Alliant, as well as Medtronic. But our days of being a leader in silicon tech are long past.

Handsome B. Wonderful said...

Truth: Yeah the Super Walmart sure is doing well!! D'oh!!

dmarks said...

Gordon: Minnesota also leeds the nation in the number of comedians elected to the Senate :)

Gordon said...

Dmarks,

Yeah. And, his margin of victory was likely from ACORN voters in the Twin Cities. He ran well in the urban cores; not so well outstate.

But it's city folks who understand his, um, sophisticated humor.