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These Are the Most (and Least) Educated Cities in the U.S.

People are attracted to cities for a full spectrum of reasons. Maybe it's the job market, or the cheap real estate, or the fact that it's brimming...

Madison, Wisconsin | Shutterstock
Madison, Wisconsin | Shutterstock

People are attracted to cities for a full spectrum of reasons. Maybe it's the job market, or the cheap real estate, or the fact that it's brimming with shockingly good restaurants and a thriving beer scene. Who knows, you may even be on the hunt for a place because it's chock full of brainiacs. Well, if the latter's what you're after, you'll want to scope out a brand new study that reveals the most and least educated cities in America right now

This enlightening new report comes from the team at financial site WalletHub, which crunched the numbers on a glut of data to determine which cities are home to the most and least educated people in America in 2019. To figure that out, they compared the 150 most populated areas in the United States using 11 different metrics split into two categories: Educational attainment as well as quality of education and attainment gap. In other words, they considered the numbers of advanced or professional degrees held by folks in a given area as well as the quality of public school systems and universities. If you're curious, you can see all specific data points they considered here

For the second year in a row, Ann Arbor, Michigan earns the distinction as the most-educated place in America, followed by San Jose, California, with Washington, DC landing in third place. On the flip side, Visalia, California was determined to be the least-educated city in the country, with Brownsville, Texas and McAllen, Texas ranking second and third, respectively. Here's a look at the rankings of the top 25 most and least educated locales in 2019.

Most educated cities in America 2019

25. Lexington, KY
24. Harford, CT
23. Baltimore, MD
22. Lansing, MI
21. Albany, NY
20. San Diego, CA
19. Minneapolis, MN
18. Portland, OR
17. Portland, ME
16. Denver, CO
15. Tallahassee, FL
14. Trenton, NJ
13. Raleigh, NC
12. Colorado Springs, CO
11. Bridgeport, CT
10. Provo, UT
9. Austin, TX
8. Seattle, WA
7. Boston, MA
6. San Francisco, CA
5. Madison, WI
4. Durham, NC
3. Washington, DC
2. San Jose, CA
1. Ann Arbor, MI

Least educated cities in America 2019

25. Scranton, PA
24. Guflport, MS
23. York, PA
22. Shreveport, LA
21. Port St. Lucie, FL
20. Rockford, IL
19. Reading, PA
18. Youngstown, OH
17. Huntington, WV
16. Lafayette, LA
15. El Paso, TX
14. Riverside, CA
13. Lakeland, FL
12. Corpus Christi, TX
11. Beaumont, TX
10. Fresno, CA
9. Ocala, FL
8. Hickory, NC
7. Stockton, CA
6. Salinas, CA
5. Modesto, CA
4. Bakersfield, CA
3. McAllen, TX
2. Brownsville, TX
1. Visalia, CA

Source: WalletHub

Although this list provides some insight into which places are most densely packed with presumably booksmart residents, it bears mentioning that having an advanced degree in no way guarantees you'll end up with settling into a lucrative career, particularly considering the most in-demand skills at the moment. Also, there are plenty of systemic reasons and other factors worth considering when questioning why certain cities rank so poorly. 

That said, you have to wonder whether the highest ranked municipalities here are also home to folks with the most student debt. 

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Joe McGauley is a senior writer for Thrillist. Follow him @jwmcgauley.