Raleigh is America’s Smartest City

Raleigh is America’s Smartest City

October, 05, 2009, by Ladye Jane

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The folks over at The Daily Beast put a little study together ranking metropolitan areas, and came up with Raleigh-Durham being the smartest city in the country (ahem, when are people going learn that Raleigh-Durham is not ONE city).  Here is how they arrived at that conclusion:

We divided the criteria into two halves: half for education, and half for intellectual environment. The education half encompassed how many residents had bachelor’s degrees (35 percent weighting) and graduate degrees (15 percent). No credit was given for “some college,” or “some grad school”—we rewarded those who finished the race. The environmental half had three subparts. First, we looked at nonfiction book sales (25 percent), as tracked by Nielsen Bookscan, the nation’s leading provider of accurate point-of-sale data, which tracks roughly 300,000 titles each week. We focused on nonfiction as an imperfect proxy for intellectual vigor, since overall sales are dominated by fiction works that, while entertaining, aren’t always particularly thought-provoking. We also measured the number of institutions of higher education (15 percent), as determined by the federal government—different than measuring college degrees, this acknowledges that universities, rather than diploma mills, usually drive the intellectual vigor of city. Finally, many studies link intelligence and political engagement, so we weighed this too, as measured the percentage of eligible voters who cast ballots in the last presidential election (10 percent). (Our relative small weighting acknowledges that numerous other local factors can affect turnout.)

Once we had all these comparable, per-capita figures, we ranked the cities in each category, assigning 10 points to those near the very top, and 0 to the bottom, with scores allocated between in a broad bell curve. We then added the totals, and multiplied by two, which made for a perfect score of 200, a wash-out score of 0, and an average score right at 100—close to the exact parameters of a classic IQ test.

Check out the link to the article here.

Image from The Daily Beast article








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  • Chris
    10/05 08:06 PM

    I doubt they think that San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose is one city either (#2 on the list).  Its the census CSA (Combined Statistical Area), not a civic designation.  Actually our CSA is Raleigh-Durham-Cary, but I guess no one cares about Cary.  :-)

    Wolfpack fans might be more annoyed to note, however, that Duke and UNC-Chapel Hill are mentioned, but not NCSU.

  • Durham =! Raleigh
    10/06 08:48 AM

    Hey y’all, might want to change yer headline. The award went to the broader media market including Durham, Chapel Hill, Fayetteville. (It was actually the DMA, not the CMSA or MSA that got the award.)

    But to the question on State—yeah, there’s a reason that a second-quartile engineering school doesn’t get mentioned in the same breath as a top-ten national university and one of the most elite public universities in the country. If the Triangle had three NC State’s instead of its current mix, I don’t think it would have ranked so highly in them thar polls.

  • gd
    10/06 10:02 AM

    You can’t be serious Durham =!Raleigh…

  • Dwight
    10/06 11:56 AM

    This is great news/publicity for our area. All three schools are fantastic.

  • Brian
    10/06 12:40 PM

    Durham =! Raleigh 10/06 10:48 AM

    Troll alert!  OK, I’ll play. Durham =! Raleigh appears to be a low-level coder confined to contract cube work.  Arrogance and ignorance is not a desirable trait son.

  • Taylor Rogers
    10/09 10:23 AM

    Please Please Please stop referring to Raleigh and Durham as Raleigh-Durham. We do not share land with them, hell they aren’t even in the same county as us. Someone outside of the triangle please get it right for once.

  • Anon
    10/11 01:26 AM

    1.) Chris, what article are you referring to? NC State University is clearly mentioned in the article. Go look at it again:

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2009-10-04/americas-smartest-cities—-from-first-to-worst/?cid=bs:archive9#gallery=787;page=1

    By the way, the only university in Raleigh is NC State University. UNC is in Chapel Hill and Duke is in Durham.

    2.) Not equal is actually written as “!=”

    3.) NC State University is actually a really good engineering school. They are better than UNC in the field of engineering (of course) and in some cases even better than Duke (based on US & World University Rankings for individual engineering disciplines). I do agree, however that UNC and Duke are both great schools in their own right especially in the field of medicine.

  • Dee
    10/13 12:33 PM

    “By the way, the only university in Raleigh is NC State University.” -Anon

    So much for Shaw…

  • Anon
    10/13 01:02 PM

    You are correct Dee, thanks for pointing that out. Raleigh has other Universities, Colleges, and schools other than NC State University (Shaw for one as you have said), however, none of them other than the big 3 (Duke, UNC, NCSU) were mentioned in the article.

  • ejb
    11/20 04:53 PM

    shaw, saint augustines, wake tech, peace college, and the rest are not mentioned because they are relic universities founded long ago that pride themselves on barber and religious degrees… and wake tech maybe with automobile mechanics and service industry…

    not noteworthy. no one in their right mind should want a degree from any of them.

  • Necessary Boy
    11/20 11:36 PM

    @ejb—Thanks for having the guts to say this man. In a broader perspective, I would add Fayetteville State U. and Elizabeth City State U. into the mix as well. But who would dare to take that on??

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