Listmania: Best (and worst) Cities to Grab a Drink and Discuss Battlestar Galactica

From flickr user Super Furry Librarian. Image downloaded here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/30976576@N07/5437005072/sizes/m/in/photostream/

Overall, 31% of USA residents are between the ages of 25-34 and have a Bachelor’s Degree or higher. This is not too bad if you want to do some mad chilling nationally. But I wanted to see where these people were located and check out if there were any patterns (and see if the cities I liked were considered cool, too). So I pulled up the ‘ol 2010 Census data from American Fact Finder and did a little analysis. For this, I am calling the 25-34 age cohort with a Bachelor’s Degree “Young and Educated” (please note: educated does not mean smart or creative, it just means educated). Then I ranked 500+ metropolitan places based on the percent of the population that was Young and Educated. Here are the results, with % of young and educated population in parenthesis. Remember, the USA average is 31%.

Most Young and Educated Cities in the USA

  1. Ithaca, NY (63%)
  2. Lawrence, KS (57%)
  3. Boulder, CO (56%)
  4. Ames, IA (56%)
  5. Iowa City, IA (55%)
  6. Boston, MA (54%)
  7. Ann Arbor, MI (54%)
  8. Bloomington, IL (53%)
  9. State College, PA (53%)
  10. Washington, DC (52%)

As expected, a lot of college towns retained a young and educated population. But that may not be really fair, so I checked places that have populations greater than 150,000 residents…

Most Young and Educated Cities in the USA (with more than 150k residents)

  1. Boston, MA (54%)
  2. Washington, DC (52%)
  3. San Francisco/Oakland, CA (49%)
  4. San Jose, CA (46%)
  5. New York City, NY (44%)
  6. Minneapolis, MN (42%)
  7. Baltimore, MD (41%)
  8. Chicago, IL (40%)
  9. Pittsburgh, PA (40%)
  10. Columbus, OH (39%)

I was surprised to see three rustbelt cities on this list, four if you include oft-heckled Baltimore. So what are the least young and educated places? Well, the pattern overall seemed that small places tended to have the fewest young and educated populations…

Least Young and Educated Cities in the USA

  1. Sebring, FL (4%)
  2. The Villages, FL (4.2%)
  3. Centralia, WA (5%)
  4. Marion, OH (6%)
  5. Gallup, NM (6.1%)
  6. Ashtabula, OH (6.5%)
  7. Palatka, FL (7.5%)
  8. Port Angeles, WA (7.7%)
  9. Athens, TX (8.4%)
  10. Moses Lake, WA (8.5%)

All of these places had less than 10,000 residents total. But I didn’t think it was fair to look at places with low populations since percentages can be skewed with smaller samples. So I also looked at places with populations greater than 150,000 residents…

Least Young and Educated Cities in the USA (with more than 150k residents)

  1. San Bernardino/Ontario, CA (18%)
  2. Las Vegas, NV (21%)
  3. San Antonio, TX (24%)
  4. Phoenix, AZ (25%)
  5. Virginia Beach, VA (26%)
  6. San Juan, PR (27%)
  7. Tampa/St. Petersburg, FL (27%)
  8. Orlando, FL (27%)
  9. Houston, TX (27%)
  10. Dallas, TX (28%)

As the least young and educated cities list continued, I was actually surprised to see Miami (28%), Detroit (29%), and Sacramento (30%) all huddling close, but below the national average. Overall though, it seems larger places tend to have a larger percentage of the young and educated cohort. Los Angeles (32%) and Providence (33%), both bastions of creativity, were just beyond the national average. Can anyone see some patterns, or help explain why some places ranked differently than others?

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3 Comments on “Listmania: Best (and worst) Cities to Grab a Drink and Discuss Battlestar Galactica”

  1. jefferton March 6, 2013 at 7:02 pm #

    What I notice about the bottom 10 is that they are all famously car-bound. Young people, especially educated young people who can afford to choose where they live, don’t want that.

    Like

    • alexsommer March 7, 2013 at 10:59 am #

      I would tend to agree with that. Now is that the chicken or the egg?

      Like

      • jefferton March 7, 2013 at 11:01 am #

        Chicken. Definitely chicken. But I’m still not sure which came first.

        Like

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