Another Top-10 List — The Smartest Cities in the U.S. (Everyone is Going to Disagree)

This is going to be a controversial topic given there is no one single definition of intelligence nor is there the perfect set of metrics to compare the respective intelligence of one community to another. But it is intriguing.

We all have brushed into that type of person who is the “Smartest stupid person you have ever met.” Academic performance and attainment is no real guaranty of intelligence, skills or success. Some of the smartest people I know have no advanced education beyond high school, but their accomplishments speak for themselves. As a former professor, I can tell you some of my best students did poorly academically but excelled in areas such as people skills and the ability to dissect complex issues and create effective solutions.

So what makes up smart and where are the smartest cities in the country? To address that, CreditDonkey.com complied a list of the top 10 cities using proxies for levels of intelligence or lack-there-of. They focused on the percentage of the population with Bachelor’s degrees, the number of Mensa Chapters in the state, property crimes per 1,000 people (the more crimes being an indication of a lack of intelligence), and the number per 1,000 of population holding a library card. They report that in the U.S., 26 percent of the population has a bachelor’s degree, compared to 45.7 percent in San Jose California, for example, which they deemed the smartest city in the country.

Do I agree with these variables? No, not at all. Given the internet today, library cards are pretty much a symbol of old-school measures rather than the digital age. My last library card was back in the 1980s when I was studying for my last degree—yet I feel well-read and informed. Likewise, property crimes per 1,000 people is a pretty soft measure of stupidity (lack of intelligence). For example, Chicago is ranked the 7th smartest city, in part due to the 2,677 property crimes per 1,000 people. Denver is ranked 6th smartest with 2,747 property crimes per 1,000 people. Yet when you examine murders and negligent homicides (while not a property crime, to me they are far more serious) I am not certain if the measure reflects intelligence or lack-thereof. Are people too stupid to live in a high personal crime environment or are the less intelligent people more prone to murder someone? Or be murdered? That I cannot answer. Based on FBI statistics in 2012, Philadelphia had 21.5 murders and negligent homicides per 100,000 people, Chicago 18.5, Boston 9.0, Los Angeles 7.8, Denver 6.2, Raleigh 4.0, and San Diego 3.5.

Here is their compilation of the 10 smartest cities in the country.

3-10-14 graph

To read the entire article with added commentary click http://www.creditdonkey.com/where-smartest.html

Some of you are probably asking what is CreditDonkey? They are a credit card comparison site. To read more about what they do and review other studies and analyses click http://www.creditdonkey.com/

For the latest crime statistics report from the Federal Bureau of Investigation for the nation, states, cities click http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2012/crime-in-the-u.s.-2012 (there are massive amounts of data here)

What metrics would make up the selection criteria for your definition of the smartest city in the U.S.?

Ted

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