Which city has the smartest people?

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One of the indicators of intelligence that help determine which city has the smartest people includes the number of college graduates reportedly living in a city
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The details are in the data.

It's all in the mind. Folks with high intelligence quotients or high aspirations may be the first to attest that a stimulating environment is essential when choosing a place to live. Museums, concert halls and gourmet restaurants likely are listed by some people as must-haves when searching for a comfortable and classy address amid the hustle and bustle of city life.


In contrast, other smart people may crave a home situated near acres of woodland where the only noisemakers are birds, bullfrogs and crickets. Some 100,000 people between the ages of 4 and 94 whose scores on intelligence tests put them in the top two percent of the world's population can be found on the membership roster of Mensa International—founded in 1946 in England. Mensa members live on every continent except Antarctica. That's not much help in determining which city has the smartest people—when measured by Mensa standards.

The Criteria


Nevertheless, in considering which city has the smartest people, various criteria can indeed be measured. For example, the organization that commonly is referred to as the United State Census Bureau is the longtime gatekeeper of massive amounts of data about American people. It has vast resources for deducing statistics such as the population of small towns and big cities alike. It has made a science of boiling down into charts and graphs an endless flow of measurements. It reports on gender, nationality, age and the level of income and education possessed by residents who live in communities all across the land.


The organization's proper name is the Bureau of the Census; it's a part of the U.S. Department of Commerce and since 1903 it has been the official collector of details that paint a portrait of life in America. Originally, the U.S. Constitution called for a population count to help figure out how many delegates from each state should be a part of the House of Representatives. The first headcount as so decreed in the United States took place in 1790.


Nowadays, a full Census of all American households is conducted every 10 years, on years ending in zero. One of the indicators of intelligence that would assist those at the bureau to determine which city has the smartest people includes the number of college graduates reportedly living in a city. In addition, other factors that may be taken into account can include the number of accredited universities in the city and the abundance there of high-level publications such as business journals and financial newspapers. It's a puzzle of amazing complexity that experts parse to reveal some interesting facts.


Reports on the Smartest Cities

Writer Les Christie some time ago wrote for a detailed report entitled, "America's Smartest Cities." The information distilled within illuminated the news that the 2000 Census revealed a clear winner when it comes to which city has the smartest people: The city? Seattle, Washington. The story reported that more than 50 percent of the folks who live in Seattle have at least a bachelor's degree—or degrees higher than that—and that a large contingent of the population works at major firms specializing in information technology.


On the other hand, writer Alyson Papalia penned a Commentary for in February 2008 entitled "The Smartest Cities," wherein the top spot went to Boulder, Colorado. It's a city with a huge center of educational excellence—the University of Colorado—and many other amenities that appeal to its sprawling student population and its thick core of tenured professors and other educators. Some 25 cites that were scrutinized were gleaned from Sperling's Best Places. Originator Bert Sperling began in 1985 to interpret data about various places and provide analysis for numerous publications. His software enabled people to easily input opinions about their favorite places and add details about the locations.

A Matter of Opinion


Seattle. Boulder. Bingo. Bango. The list could go on. Every expert probably has a favorite nominee. And when one is pondering which city has the smartest people, the answer may wind up being a matter of opinion—or facts that can be interpreted in a number of ways.


Maybe it's better to limit the inquiry to people who know their surroundings. Ask the guy with the fishing pole, sitting on the bench at the end of the rickety wooden pier that stretches out from the sandy backyard of his cabin on the lake. Look around at the thick stands of fragrant pines and then ask him, "Is this where the smartest people live?" Chances are he'll lift the brim of his hat, look out at the dancing blue ripples and give you as good an answer as any: "You'd have to be stupid to live anywhere else."

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