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Hey! We’re wicked smaht!

Rob Pitingolo has run an analysis of the 50 largest metro areas in the country measuring the density per square miles of college graduates*. Providence comes out looking pretty damn smart according to this metric, ranking 8th, just below Minneapolis.


Click to enlarge

I compiled the data at two geographic levels: first at the city level and second at the “urban county” level. I realize that comparing these geographies is not always entirely fair. That’s why I’m giving away the spreadsheet with all of my work to anyone who wants to build upon this analysis (download it here). I picked these cities by looking at the 50 largest metro areas by population and pulling what I deemed to be the “primary city” from each. In two metro areas, the Twin Cities and Bay Area, I pulled two “primary cities.”

Originally from, and lots of comments at, The Atlantic

* As an art school drop out, I’m not sure that this is the best metric of smartiness. But I also can’t think of another good indicator, thoughts?

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10 Responses to Hey! We’re wicked smaht!

  1. thomas June 4, 2010 at 3:26 pm #

    what happens if you divide by local unemployment rate of college grads…?

  2. Tony P June 4, 2010 at 3:44 pm #

    I think it’s only because we have a good collection of universities here in the city. Otherwise it’d be a difference story.

    But if we have so many college educated people (self included) why the hell is this state so bass ackwards?

  3. Chris O'Leary June 4, 2010 at 5:20 pm #

    @TonyP: All the really smart graduates of those colleges and universities know better than to stay.

  4. jencoleslaw June 4, 2010 at 5:50 pm #

    Well certainly they know not to run for office, or work for government, generally.

  5. Jef Nickerson June 4, 2010 at 6:01 pm #

    See, that’s my point, I didn’t need to graduate from college to know not to run for public office in Rhode Island. So what would be a better way to measure smahts?

  6. jencoleslaw June 4, 2010 at 6:29 pm #

    # of graduates x # of wedgies / rugby players – Johnson and Wales + 5

  7. Corey June 7, 2010 at 10:05 pm #

    I love it when people reject good news in bad times. It’s so uplifting.

  8. JJ June 8, 2010 at 2:34 am #

    You know whats pretty funny? Look at which cities lean republican and which lean democrat.

  9. Peter Brassard June 8, 2010 at 7:13 am #

    Great observation.

  10. Corey June 8, 2010 at 6:44 pm #

    It is reassuring to know that republican idiocy can be quantitatively proven. But it makes me wonder why so many of these right-leaning places with so few college graduates are also high-growth. Why are people getting paid for being statistically “dumb”? Doesn’t seem right.

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