If a city’s potential lies in its brainpower, we’re screwed.
According to data provided by the U.S. Census Bureau, Louisville is the 6th dumbest city in the country, based upon the percentage of our population that hold college degrees. The census reports only 25 percent of Louisvillians are college educated. No wonder we’re always talking about high school football rivalries in this town.
The Daily Beast confirms the collective stupidity, when it released its second annual list ranking the intelligence of America’s 55 largest cities. The online news magazine ranks The Derby City 48th, just ahead of Tampa, Fl., which shows only 15 percent hold a bachelor’s degree. On the bright side, there has been a slight improvement. Last year, we ranked 52nd on The Daily Beast’s list, performing poorly on almost all of their measures.
Here’s the methodology.
From The Daily Beast:
We only ranked metropolitan areas (major cities and their suburbs) of 1 million people or more, using Census data, with the definition of each greater metropolitan area defined by Nielsen’s Designated Market Area. In a few cases, using Nielsen’s DMA definitions meant combining data from two or more Metropolitan Statistical Areas. That gave us 55 cities. All data was organized on a per-capita basis so that a resident of Nashville Tennessee, and Los Angeles, California, had equal weight.
This year’s methodology is similar to last year’s inaugural list, with a couple weighting refinements, and one major change: as our civic engagement quotient—a proxy of a city’s willingness, and ability, to invest in intellectual culture—we dropped voter turnout in favor of libraries per capita. Overall, we divided the criteria into two parts: Half for education, and half for intellectual environment. The education half encompassed the percentage of residents over age 25 that had bachelor’s degrees (25 percent weighting) and graduate degrees (25 percent), compared to the overall population over age 25. The intellectual environmental half had three subparts. First, we looked at year-to-date nonfiction book sales (16.7 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 also measured the ratio of institutions of higher education (16.7 percent), as defined by the federal government—different than just measuring college degrees, this acknowledges that universities as driver of intellectual vigor of cities and rewards cities with college populations. Finally, libraries per capita (16.7 percent) measures how willing and able a city is to educate the general public, as well as the no-cost opportunities for the public to educate itself.