Want to hang out with a posse of high school valedictorians? Then Boston, Hartford or San Francisco are probably your best bets. At least according to The Daily Beast, which ranked the smartest and dumbest cities in the country. Those three cities came out on top, while Las Vegas, San Antonio, and Fresno wallowed at the bottom. Some caveats: the list only ranks cities of one million or more residents, which is why there are only 55 cities on the list. The full list of ranking criteria included an examination of both per capita education levels (that means the number of bachelor and graduate degrees held by residents in any given city) and the overall intellectual environment of the city. How does one determine “intellectual environment”? By looking at the number of institutions of higher learning, number of libraries, and quantity of non-fiction book sales in the past year.
Even so, smarts aren’t always where you think: Our nation’s capital ranked 9th, behind Minneapolis, MN; Austin, TX; and Denver, CO. And NYC ranked 16th.
This is the second year The Beast has created such a ranking. Last year, Raleigh-Durham, NC, took top honors with San Francisco and Boston following up behind. And sadly, Las Vegas was at the bottom of the list in 2009, too. Apparently, what happens in Vegas isn’t that smart.