In its profile of the brainiest cities in America, Portfolio pours thick praise on its number one pick: Boulder. “What separates a community like Boulder, Colorado, from a place like Merced, California?” the magazine writes. “One word: education. In Boulder, five out of every six adults has gone to college.” One in three people from Merced, on the other hand, dropped out of high school. Overall, Colorado looks good on Portfolio.com’s 2010 Brainpower Index, which uses data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Fort Collins finishes number five; Colorado Springs is number 15; and Denver is 21. The only other Colorado city on the list is Greeley, which comes in at 136 (via the Colorado Springs Gazette). Ann Arbor, Michigan, Washington, D.C., and Durham, North Carolina, are numbers two, three, and four, respectively.
A college education generally leads to a better paycheck over a lifetime: A worker with an advanced degree may earn 31 percent more than a colleague with a bachelor’s degree and 128 percent more than someone who stopped at high school, according to a separate article from Portfolio. As for Boulder: “Five of every six adults in the Boulder area (82.5 percent) have attended college, the strongest concentration in the study group. And 26 percent of Boulder’s residents hold master’s, doctoral, or professional degrees, also the highest figure in the country.”