The Smartest City In Each State

By Kathy Morris
Sep. 14, 2020

Find a Job You Really Want In

One of the many qualities that people look for in a potential location or company is the intelligence of those around them.

So finding a city with an intelligent population makes sense for both companies and employees. That’s where Zippia comes in; to help you identify those places in America that might have skipped a grade…or two.

We set out to find where people are well-educated, at all levels. We then crunched the numbers and found the smartest city in each state.

You can see our full breakdown at the bottom, but first, here are the 10 smartest cities in the US.

Smartest Cities

  1. Hoboken, New Jersey
  2. West Hollywood, California
  3. Gunbarrel, Colorado
  4. Conshohocken, Pennsylvania
  5. Davidson, North Carolina
  6. Bexley, Ohio
  7. Arden Hills, Minnesota
  8. Jericho, New York
  9. Fairhope, Alabama
  10. North Druid Hills, Georgia

Keep reading to see how we determined these 10 cities are smart cookies- or scroll down to see what makes them shine just a little brighter.

How we determined the smartest city in each state

There are lots of ways to look at intelligence, such as IQ scores and SATs. However, we opted to look at something a bit more concrete and readily available- educational achievement.

Each city was equally ranked on:

  • Percentage of adults over 25 with a bachelor’s degree or higher (Higher is smarter)
  • Percentage of 18-25 year olds with at least a high school education (Higher is smarter)

Our data comes directly from the latest American Community Survey from the Census, where we examined all cities with a working population of at least 5,000.

We thought this criteria was representative of the current state of smarts with the potential for a place to improve the education levels of the next generation. From there, we identified the smartest city in each state.

No state in your city make the top 10? Jump down to the bottom of the post to see a detailed chart. Otherwise, learn more about what makes these cities the sharpest tool in the shed.

1. Hoboken, New Jersey


Source: |CC BY 4.0

Bachelors Degree: 51
High School Diploma: 99.6

Those looking for smarts need look no further than New Jersey- Hoboken, New Jersey that is. Finding a high school drop out in Hoboken is like finding a needle in a haystack, only .4% of young adult residents are lacking that achievement. No doubt, a large chunk of those residents go on to higher education, since Hoboken has the highest rate of college-educated residents in the nation- a staggering 51%.

2. West Hollywood, California


Bachelors Degree: 44
High School Diploma: 99.4

Hollywood may be wear you go to get famous, but West Hollywood is where you go for the brainiacs. West Hollywood residents are hitting the books hard- with 44% having a bachelor’s degree and 99.4% having achieved at least a high school diploma.

3. Gunbarrel, Colorado


Bachelors Degree: 43
High School Diploma: 99.0

The smartest city in Colorado? It’s not a smoking gun, it’s Gunbarrel, Colorado. People who relocate to Gun Barrel will be treated to a city full of highly educated young adults, and the great schools that produce them.

4. Conshohocken, Pennsylvania


Source: Wikited at English Wikipedia|Public domain

Bachelors Degree: 39
High School Diploma: 99.3

The fourth smartest city is Conshohocken, Pennsylvania. Conshohocken is one of the smaller cities to make the list, but it still has plenty to offer when it comes to smarts. This Philadelphia suburb can boast of 39% of its residents over 25 having a bachelors degree. That’s nice.

5. Davidson, North Carolina


Bachelors Degree: 40
High School Diploma: 98.2

In 5th place (and #1 in all of North Carolina!) is Davidson. 40% of adults have at least a bachelors degree, and 98% of the adults under 25 are well on their way and have already achieved a high school diploma. If that’s not enough to tempt new residents into calling Davidson home, the charming Main Street, lush green spaces, and adorable local businesses should do it.

6. Bexley, Ohio


Source: |CC BY-SA 4.0

Bachelors Degree: 38
High School Diploma: 98.5

Where do the smarted people in Ohio call home? Bexley. Only 1.5% of Belxey’s youngest adults are lacking a high school diploma or the equivalent. Combine that with the fact that 38% of adults over 25 possess a college degree and it’s easy to see Bexley knows how to crack open a book.

7. Arden Hills, Minnesota


Bachelors Degree: 36
High School Diploma: 98.6

The smartest city in Minnesota (and 7th smartest in the nation) is Arden Hills. The campus of University of Northwestern – St. Paul straddles the border of Arden Hills, no doubt contributing to the high education rate of the community. Toss in superb local schools, and it’s easy to see Arden Hills is a community where education flourishes.

8. Jericho, New York


Bachelors Degree: 36
High School Diploma: 98.0

In 8th place for smarts is Jericho, New York, shining just a bit brighter than other places in New York. Jericho residents know what it’s like to hit the books- with 98% having at least their high school diploma.

9. Fairhope, Alabama


Bachelors Degree: 34
High School Diploma: 100
Alabama is often the brunt of jokes, but Fairhope, Alabama proves there are a lot of smart people in Alabama. Your chances of finding someone 18-to-25 without a high school degree is basically zero. The education doesn’t stop there. 34% of adults over 25 have at least a bachelors degree. That’s pretty smart.

10. North Druid Hills, Georgia


Bachelors Degree: 38
High School Diploma: 96.4

The 10th smartest place is North Druid Hills, Georgia. 96.4% of young adults have earned a high school diploma. A good chunk of those will no doubt follow the high percentage of older adults in pursuing a college degree.

Smart Is As Smart Does

Education is important and can lend you a hand up in landing the career of your dreams. Folks in the above 10 cities are surrounded by highly educated people and often the strong school systems that help develop them. These cities, no doubt, also have an advantage in attracting new companies and future talented workers.

However, people whose cities that didn’t make the top 10 (or the top spot in their state) shouldn’t feel bad. Lots of smart people live in other cities, and for those cities who are lagging it’s never too late to hit the books.

Smartest City In Every State

State City Bachelors Degree (%) High School Diploma (%)
Alabama Fairhope 33 100
Alaska College 23 97
Arizona Flagstaff 27 97
Arkansas Fayetteville 26 96
California West Hollywood 44 99
Colorado Gunbarrel 43 99
Connecticut West Hartford 29 92
Delaware Newark 26 98
Florida Lake Butler 39 94
Georgia North Druid Hills 37 96
Hawaii Mililani Mauka 35 95
Idaho Moscow 32 97
Illinois River Forest 37 95
Indiana West Lafayette 26 99
Iowa Ames 31 98
Kansas Manhattan 26 98
Kentucky Francisville 31 97
Louisiana Youngsville 33 94
Maine Portland 30 92
Maryland Towson 31 96
Massachusetts Somerville 33 96
Michigan Westwood 31 99
Minnesota Arden Hills 35 98
Mississippi Oxford 29 98
Missouri Kirkwood 34 95
Montana Bozeman 34 98
Nebraska Chalco 25 100
Nevada Summerlin South 26 95
New Hampshire Dover 28 94
New Jersey Hoboken 50 99
New Mexico Portales 16 95
New York Jericho 35 98
North Carolina Davidson 40 98
North Dakota Fargo 27 94
Ohio Bexley 37 98
Oklahoma Edmond 31 94
Oregon Bull Mountain 36 95
Pennsylvania Conshohocken 39 99
Rhode Island Newport 33 90
South Carolina Lake Wylie 35 97
South Dakota Vermillion 28 99
Tennessee Collegedale 26 98
Texas Addison 39 94
Utah Provo 28 96
Vermont Burlington 29 97
Virginia Lansdowne 32 98
Washington Newcastle 39 95
West Virginia Morgantown 26 98
Wisconsin Madison 32 96
Wyoming Jackson 38 95

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Kathy Morris

Kathy is the head of content at Zippia with a knack for engaging audiences. Prior to joining Zippia, Kathy worked at Gateway Blend growing audiences across diverse brands. She graduated from Troy University with a degree in Social Science Education.

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Topics: Rankings