Ann Arbor: Most Educated City in America

Submitted by BursleyHall82 on August 18th, 2015 at 12:19 AM

Using some pretty solid data and metrics, WalletHub ranked Ann Arbor as the No. 1 city in America where educated people are choosing to live.

"As the fall semester commences, WalletHub determined where the most educated Americans are choosing to settle. In order to do so, we compared the 150 largest U.S. metropolitan statistical areas across nine key metrics. Our data set ranges from the percentage of adults aged 25 and older with a bachelor’s degree or higher to the attainment gap between women and men."

Other B1G cities ranked: Madison (No. 3), East Lansing (No. 8), Minneapolis/St. Paul (No. 9), Columbus (No. 36).



August 18th, 2015 at 12:30 AM ^

Good to see AA doing well, but as someone from the Flint area, when I see rankings like these, it's always depressing how the other cities in SE Michigan languish behind.


August 18th, 2015 at 10:26 AM ^

I find it not surprising that a majority are areas where there is a large public university.  So not sure if that means educated people come to A2 or rather they go to UM/Eastern/whatever and just stay in the area afterwards.


August 18th, 2015 at 12:39 AM ^

Would love to take this list seriously but all credibility went out the window when I saw Lansing-East Lansing at #8. Rivalry bias aside, that is a horrible wasteland of an area. Ghetto and trashy. Awful schools. Low culture. A decaying UAW enclave that happens to have a large (poorly managed) university.

Ann Arbor is the most premier town in Michigan, but I don't think it's nearly as erudite as SF, DC, Boston or Seattle.


August 18th, 2015 at 1:09 AM ^

It is a question of diversity and wealth as correlated to education. Ann Arbor is primarily comprised of students, faculty, doctors, researchers and various relatively wealthy individuals. All those other cities have many poor and working class residents (generally these groups are less educated); meanwhile lots of wealthy (better educated) residents moved to the suburbs during urban renewal. Unlile those other cities, Ann arbor has few poor people (unless you count grad students), but the city does have the university, the hospital, and associated industries (like various private research labs), and all of these industries require an unusually high degree of education for most of their employees compared to, say, a manufacturing company.


August 18th, 2015 at 1:04 AM ^

I've never pictured Boston as being very educated.  And I DEFINITELY don't agree with DC, not as a political slight, but simply because the city is a pretty big shithole altogether.  Seattle and SF, yes.  Maybe Chicago?  The problem with big cities is that although they are big draws for learned people, the sheer volume of residents pretty much washes that out.  That's why I think you see a lot of college towns on there.  Smaller populace, larger number of college graduates. 


August 18th, 2015 at 9:26 AM ^

I know more than a few people who got robbed in Ann Arbor so by your definition Ann Arbor=shithole.  These rankings are dumb because they are obviously going to skew incredibly heavily towards college towns where the only people there are pretty much students and those who work in some way connected to the university.  Ann Arbor isn't a larger metropolitan area because it doesn't have a diversity of jobs to support lower educated people so of course it will be ranked higher.  It is just such a stupid metric to use. 


August 18th, 2015 at 9:39 AM ^

So, to understand your argument -

A study that attempts to measure intelligence based on the average intelligence of a city is skewed because it unfairly promotes cities that are designed around said intelligence and doesn't support a large number of unintelligent people?


August 18th, 2015 at 10:32 AM ^

My point is that it is a stupid comparison.  What is your cutoff for how small a pplace can be before you stop comparing it to other metropolitan areas.  You might not think of Boston as an educated city but if your cutoff for size is 50,000 people Brookline, Massachusets has the most phds per capita,Davis California is next followed by Palo Alto cambridge and Bethesda Maryland as the top 5.  Ann Arbor is number six on this list.  So two places you consider to be not as educated as Ann Arbor have towns within their metropolitan areas that are actually more densely educated than AA, Boston actually has two of them.

You don't just get to cut it off at whatever the size of Ann  Arbor is.  Ann Arbor isn't a city, it is really great college town but comparing it to actual cities is stupid.  A town of 10 people with 7 phds and one office that employs all of them would technically be the highest density of educated people but comparing that to Ann Arbor would be dumb as well.  Comparing like to like in situations like these is the only correct way to do it and comparing a town with 100k people to a city with over 600k is just as stupid as comparing a town of 50 people to Ann  Arbor.


August 18th, 2015 at 10:36 AM ^

Logged in just to comment on the absurdity of this comment:

The last time you were here (I'm in D.C.) was during the Bush administration and you feel informed enough to comment on the state of the city?

There are definitely some bad parts of D.C., but by and large the city is booming. Millenials are moving in and driving housing prices up and there is a constant stream of concerts and other events to go to. It's a great town to live in.


August 18th, 2015 at 12:55 AM ^

Boulder, CO is "more educated" using the same metric of % with bachelors degree. It just doesn't fall in the top 150 MSAs. Source: Census Fact Finder

Kenny Loggins

August 18th, 2015 at 12:56 AM ^

they want to live in these midwest states because it's cheap...before you tell me a2 is expensive, recognize i live in LA and would kill for your cost of living, but i'm a sucker and can't get over the weather


August 18th, 2015 at 4:54 AM ^

In a rather small city where most of the jobs are related to the University or the Medical Center  is it even surprising that Ann Arbor ranks highly?  You could place a large research university anywhere and drop it some distance from a large city or population center and instantly, that immediate area where the university is located would be "highly educated".  Isn't that why places like couch-burning Sparty-worshipping East Lansing are also ranked?


August 18th, 2015 at 5:00 AM ^

This data is skewed due to the presence of large universities in these cities.

Washington, DC is ranked high due to the number of government workers with Master's degrees as the tax payer funds them & is required for higher pay levels.

Columbus @ 36 doesn't sound accurate as OSU intelligencia should have a larger impact on their ranking.

Crossing out the college towns would seem to be more reflective of what the study purports.


August 18th, 2015 at 5:30 AM ^

Because college towns have a higher % of PhD level citizens due to their jobs being located there. 

Imagine having a study of cities that union members prefer to live in.  Due to the concentrations of union employees in cities like Flint, Detroit, et al the data would indicate these cities are their preference.  But we know that without their jobs these people would probably opt to live somewhere else.

Going by what you said then the study should have been represented as cities where the most educated in America work.


August 18th, 2015 at 9:33 AM ^

Because all of the jobs are associated with the university making comparing it to larger cities pointless and dumb.  Its great that Ann Arbor has more educated people if sorrounding yourself with people with higher ed degrees is literally all you care about but it isn't surprising and small college towns should be ranked independently of larger metropolitan areas.  If you have a town of 10 people and 7 of them get phds that would make it the most educated place in America but it wouldn't really mean shit and that is pretty much what this is.  The town of Ann Arbor pretty much only exists as it is becuase of the university so comparing it to a city is stupid.  I can guarantee that you will find a higher number of people with phds in Boston, Philly, New York, DC, Chicago, Seattle, San Fran, etc.  To say Ann Arbor is smarter becuase it doesn't also have industries that cater to people with lower education is equivalent to cutting out the best neighberhoods in each of those cities.  And funny story when you do that, Brookline, Massachusets actually has the highest number of phds per capita, followed by Palo Alto when it is not included with the San Jose population.


August 18th, 2015 at 9:26 AM ^

It's over a million people and the number of uneducated mouth breathing first generation city dwellers is large. But there are more second generation city dwellers. I'm not just ragging on these people. Fifty years ago, Toledo was about the same size, metro population, and more Columbus is over twice the size. Not all these people are highly educated.
Also the number of illegal Mexican immigrants is huge. There may also be a few legal ones. Also the number of somalis is huge. These people are not all well educated.


August 18th, 2015 at 5:42 AM ^

Ann Arbor benefits a bit from the social segregation between A2 and Ypsi. It's basically one large city but the rich people live in A2 and a lot of the poorer end live in Ypsi


August 18th, 2015 at 9:49 AM ^

I'm gonna be honest - I don't live in Ypsi (anymore). However, you'd be amazed at the number of snide comments you hear from UM students about Ypsi, especially out of state students. Incredily snobby and heard them all the time. Granted, Ypsi isn't exactly a gem of a city and has many rough parts, but people with lesser means need somewhere to live too and there's no need to degrade it.


August 18th, 2015 at 10:39 AM ^

The guy didn't say Ypsi sucked, he said it is where the less affluent who work around the area live which is also exactly what you said.  And by seperating out the two rather than comparing the two places like happens in other cities moves Ann Arbor artificially up the rankings.  It would be like cutting Cambridge out from the Boston metropolitan area or Palo Alto from San jose metropolitan area.  So either Ann Arbor should be compared to those places in this ranking, or the data of ypsilanti should be combined with Ann Arbor to give a more accurate representation of the area.  That isn't a knock on Ypsi, just a reality of housing segregation both based on race and economy.