Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Milwaukee 43rd Smartest Big City in the US

That's just ahead of St. Louis and just behind Fresno for those keeping track.

This comes from an analysis of US Census data conducted by bizjournals.com, which focuses exclusively on the degree status of residents who were 25 or older as of 2000. The municipalities analyzed were broken up into three categories: large (200,000+ residents), medium (100,000 to 200,000 residents), and small (50,000 to 100,000 residents).

Milwaukee gets its ranking of 43rd smartest large city based upon the following breakdown:

No HS diploma: 25.18%
HS diploma only: 30.17%
Some college: 20.67%
Associate degree: 5.67%
Bachelor's degree: 12.32%
Grad/Professional degree: 6.01%

The smartest big city in the country, based on this analysis, turned out to be Seattle, which has nearly as many Bachelor's degrees (29.89%) as Milwaukee does HS diplomas (30.17%).

The dumbest big city in the country -- again, based on this analysis -- was Miami (ranked 50th), where 2/3 of the population studied didn't go beyond a HS diploma.

The only other Wisconsin city to appear in the rankings is Madison, which ranked 4th among medium-sized cities. Notably, however, the article only lists the top 10 for medium and small cities -- there would likely be more Wisconsin representation with a broader listing.

Of course, degrees only tell you so much about how smart a person (or city) is -- in fact, it's probably more accurate to say they merely dictate how "schooled" a person (or city) is, as opposed to actual intelligence.

Nevertheless, Americans (myself included) seem to be captivated by lists and rankings, which is why they always draw attention regardless of potentially flawed methodology, findings, or interpretations.

I wonder what that says about how smart we are?

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