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Brainiest Metros Index: The 20 Smartest Places In America

Travel News — By Carlo Alcos on September 8, 2010 at 12:00 pm

Are you a brainiac? Wondering which cities to travel to that can challenge your oversized brain the most? The Daily Beast has you covered. Using data from the US Census American Community Survey and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the numbers have been crunched and Boulder, Colorado has come out on top as the best American town for a start-up company.

The three variables (all weighted equally across 362 metro regions) used to determine the Brainiest Metros Index were:

  1. The share of adults 25 years of age and older with a Ph.D., master’s or professional degree
  2. Computer scientists and mathematicians as a share of all employment
  3. Scientists (physical, biological, social) as a share of total metro employment

Not surprisingly, the ones that made the list were home to high-tech, knowledge-based businesses, and premier colleges and universities. One of the most decisive variables was the presence of a major research university. Second-place went to Durham, North Carolina (home to Duke University and close to University of North Carolina, in Chapel Hill) while Greater Washington D.C. came third, Greater Boston (Harvard, MIT, Boston University) finished fourth, and Trenton-Ewing metro in Central New Jersey (Princeton) rounded out the top five.

The smartest metros tend to have characteristics like higher income, economic output, more patents (high innovation), more high-tech, and higher housing prices. They are also the places you want to be during tough economic times as they are the most resilient.

To see the rest of the top 20 in photo format, check out this gallery.

[Image: Ken Lund / Flickr]

Tags: college, smartest, university, USA

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