The Georgetown district of Washington, D.C., has one of the nation’s highest concentrations of college degrees.
In the District and surrounding suburbs, 47.3% of people 25 years or older have bachelor’s, master’s, professional school or doctorate degrees, according to new Census Bureau data released Tuesday. The national average barely tips 25%.
The figures don’t surprise John Schmitt, senior economist with the Center for Economic and Policy Research in D.C. The city is built on jobs that require degrees.
“There’s a very high share of federal government employees here,” he said, “and people dealing with the federal government, including defense contractors, lobbyists, businesses that want to influence the regulatory process; there’s lots of lawyers.”
“Clearly, the biggest factor is still the presence of federal government jobs,” he added. “But a lot of people in the 20s and 30s come here interested in public policy. There’s an excitement about being in Washington, especially among young people who want to make a difference in the world.”
In second-place San Francisco, 43.5% of residents have college degrees or better; San Jose, Calif., the hub of Silicon Valley, ranked third at 43.2%; and Raleigh, N.C., one of the points in that state’s “Research Triangle,” came in fourth at 42.2%.
Boston, where so many great universities are located, also boasts 42.2% of its population having a degree.
Of course, salaries in those towns are also higher than the national average. That’s because a highly educated population is a key to growth and prosperity. Washington, D.C., for example, has the highest median household income of any metro area of more than 1 million residents.
“There’s a very high correlation between earnings and educational attainment,” said Todd Gabe, an economics professor at the University of Maine.
10 Brainiest US cities (Brainpower index)
1. Boulder, Colorado (3.941)
2. Ann Arbor, Michigan (3.228)
3. Washington, D.C. (2.573)
4. Durham, North Carolina (2.164)
5. Fort, Collins, Colorado (1.961)
6. Bridgeport-Stamford, Connecticut (1.913)
7. San Jose, California (1.856)
8. Boston, Massachusetts (1.854)
9. Madison, WisconsinMadison, Wisconsin (1.816)
10. San Francisco-Oakland, California (1.803)