The Smartest (and Least Smart) Cities in the U.S.

By analyzing Census data on educational achievement, Bizjournals developed a methodology wherein it ranked adults in nearly 16,000 cities, towns, villages, boroughs and unincorporated areas throughout the U.S. In the end, the methodology provided insight into the distribution of gray matter in America. Which big city proved to be brainiest? Seattle came out tops, with San Francisco and Austin followed close behind.

Top 10

In terms of mid-sized communities, Arlington, Virginia, took first place. Ann Arbor, Michigan beat out the pack in the small cities category.

Of course, any time you rank the strongest, you necessarily have to rank the weakest. Which cities came in at the bottom?

For large communities, Miami edged out the competition. For medium communities, Santa Ana, California emerged the victor. For small communities, East Los Angeles took the top spot.


It’s important to note that whether a city is considered more or less smart should not affect your enjoyment of the place. Just because the city, as a whole, has less educational achievement doesn’t mean it’s dangerous, or boring, or not worthy of a visit. I just returned from Miami, for example, and I had an absolute blast! Moreover, Santa Ana has a rich history and lots of things to do.

If a community offers activities that you’re interested in, go for it! Don’t worry about statistics!

Get smarter:
* The Smart Traveler’s Passport
* World’s Most Expensive Cities
* The World’s Most Polite and Rude Cities