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Which US Cities Are Rapidly Getting Smarter?

timpearcelosgatos, flickr

Conventional wisdom has long held that smart people go where other smart people are — intellectual hubs like San Francisco and New York City, for example.

But a new list of cities with the fastest growth in their college-educated populations revealed the reality lately has been far different.

Using Census data from 2000-2010, it seems the overall IQ of Las Vegas has skyrocketed — Sin City’s number of college grads boomed a remarkable 78 percent during the survey period.

Riverside-San Bernardino, CA came in second with a 60 percent change, followed by Raleigh, NC; Austin, TX; and Charlotte, NC.

In contrast, places with a higher cost of living that are typically considered hotbeds of smart people fared far worse. New York City? All the way down in 39th place. And San Francisco was even lower at number 48.

That said, the populations of Washington DC, San Francisco, Boston, Denver and Minneapolis boast a share of college grads that’s at least 20 percent above the national average. But it seems the country’s brainpower is now being spread out a lot more — often to places where you’d least expect.


1. Las Vegas, NV
2. Riverside-San Bernardino, CA
3. Raleigh, NC
4. Austin, TX
5. Charlotte, NC
6. San Antonio, TX
7. Jacksonville, FL
8. Orlando, FL
9. Nashville, TN
10. Phoenix, AZ


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