Skip

Smarty pants!
May 14, 2004 11:00 AM   Subscribe

Where do you live, among a bastion of geeks, or sea of academia-phobes? US Census released the smartest cities, states, and counties with Seattle and Raleigh topping the cities. Also for those who are politically curious, of the top 15 states with Bachelor degrees 11 went to Gore, while 13 of the bottom 15 went to Bush.
posted by humbe (27 comments total)

 
I just want to congratulate all of us brilliant Seattleites! Go team.
posted by xmutex at 11:16 AM on May 14, 2004


Also for those who are politically curious, of the top 15 states with Bachelor degrees 11 went to Gore, while 13 of the bottom 15 went to Bush.

I would only be surprised if this came as a surprise to someone.
posted by Ynoxas at 11:49 AM on May 14, 2004


Also for those who are politically curious, of the top 15 states with Bachelor degrees 11 went to Gore, while 13 of the bottom 15 went to Bush.

Percent of People With a Bachelor's Degree or More
Population 25 Years and Over (State Level)

25 Texas
42 Tennessee
Most people I know don't have their degree, so not sure if I should laugh here at those whom do for their dumbness.

Dallas, 32 and Fort worth, 49 are in close proximity by distance. Wonder what they would rank together? Because the area is called the "Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex."
posted by thomcatspike at 12:02 PM on May 14, 2004


I would only be surprised if this came as a surprise to someone.

I love the smell of elitism in the morning.
posted by jammer at 12:37 PM on May 14, 2004


I mean, er... Go Austin! Woo! We're #6!

I really hate the use of college degrees as a measure of "smartness", btw. Plenty of intelligent people can't/won't go to college, and to consider them less smart because of it really is elitist.

But then that's the point of metrics like this, isn't it? Gotta find some way to make yourself feel better than those schmucks.
posted by jammer at 12:40 PM on May 14, 2004


I don't think this is a measure of intelligence, just a measure of education. But it is disturbing that less education means more likely to vote for a Republican.
posted by humbe at 12:44 PM on May 14, 2004


Well this confirms my suspicions. I'm one of about seven or eight people in Baltimore with a bachelor's degree.
posted by TBoneMcCool at 12:47 PM on May 14, 2004


Actually it's not a measure of education, but of one particular form of education--formalized, theoretical, and expensive.
posted by profwhat at 12:49 PM on May 14, 2004


Jammer I agree - this report is not a measure of smartness - only of education. There is a difference. But does this argue that getting an education causes someone to lean Democrat? Are professors more likely to be democrats, and if they are, are they un- or in- tentionally swaying their students toward their liberal or Democratic ideas?
posted by humbe at 12:52 PM on May 14, 2004


But it is disturbing that less education means more likely to vote for a Republican.

No more disturbing than having more education makes you more likely to vote for a Democrat. As humbe says, it raises the possibility of bias in higher education.
posted by kindall at 12:59 PM on May 14, 2004


Hey, I was just happy to see that Santa Cruz County has the foruth highest house valuations in the country. Why? Because I just bought a house and its well under the median. Appreciation, here I come!

Oh yeah, and my commute is about ten minutes shorter than the median too! And I'm not even compensating for riding the motorcycle in to work either!
posted by fenriq at 1:07 PM on May 14, 2004


Farmers are stupid!
posted by Mick at 1:09 PM on May 14, 2004


Geez, not the fourth highest education level apparently. Sheesh, I hate when I skim the preview and miss something as stupid as "foruth".
posted by fenriq at 1:17 PM on May 14, 2004


Actually it's not a measure of education, but of one particular form of education--formalized, theoretical, and expensive.

Yes, it is a measure of "formalized" education, but you can't seriously be pretending that you think that on the whole college graduates are no more educated than those without. "More educated" here meaning more knowledgeable, basically. In general, a bigger world view, more politically aware.

I don't mean to be elitist. Smarts might be innate, and can take a ton of forms, of course. Education is only what you take from it, and I've know more than a few brilliant people with little or no education. But I know far more dunces that did not attend college than dunces that did.

While no method is infallible, how would you propose we measure general trends on "intelligence" or "education"? These statistics seem decently solid to me.

On preview, humbe, this is an interesting point and "Academic diversity" is a huge point of contention at my school (Brown). Well, huge according to the extremely vocal (conservative) minority. Ironically enough, they demand a sort of affirmative action program for hiring conservative professors. What would be interesting, though, is to see how many conservative professors are applying to teach here -- isn't employment politically blind? Despite the College Republicans' demands, I just suspect that the number of conservative professors (very few) that are hired pretty accurately reflects the number of conservative professors who've applied.

If states with more BAs tend to vote Democrat, however, I think that it is safe to assume that states with the most PhD's also vote Democrat. Is it a self-feeding cycle, then? Higher education tends to be liberal because the professors tend to be liberal because of their own education?
posted by rafter at 1:21 PM on May 14, 2004


I don't have a counterproposal of how to measure intelligence or education. I don't think you can reduce either to a statistic, and then use that statistic to make useful observations about whom smart people vote for.

But if you were going to do that, you'd want to look at voter exit polls, not state-by-state averages of B.A. recipients. Bachelor degree holders went for Bush in the 2000 election, though the voting was close. Of voters who were "college graduates," 51% went for Bush (45% Gore, 3% Nader). "Post-graduate degree" holders, though, went 52% for Gore, 44% for Bush, and 3% Nader. People with no high school degree at all went overwhelmingly for Gore (59%).

So what does that mean? The only people who voted for Gore were either (a) dumb or (b) smart, but trained to overanalyze every situation? Nope, I don't think so, either.
posted by profwhat at 1:46 PM on May 14, 2004


Contrarily, I'll point out that six of the top-ten BA cities are southern, while six of the bottom-ten are northeastern.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 1:59 PM on May 14, 2004


profwhat - you are correct in what you have said - I don't regard a bachelor's degree as anything more than a glorified vocational certificate these days. It doesn't prove your fitness, your intelligence, your political acumen or anything else except that you were rich enough, pliant enough and/or disciplined enough to sit through 4 years' worth of college classes. There are of course, people who have actually learned something in college; by an odd coincidence, these are often the same kind of things motivated people without college have learned and the same kind of things people learn throughout life.

I've known bright people who never even graduated from high school. I've known educated imbeciles. I've typeset resumes by college graduates who had spent a year in Oxford and were utterly unable to express themselves coherently in English.

One day, the guys on the shop floor were discussing how going to college made you dumb. I felt compelled to tell them that I was only half-stupid - I dropped out after two years.
posted by pyramid termite at 2:04 PM on May 14, 2004


Since I moved from Raleigh to San Francisco in 2002, I wonder if I've changed the balance?? :-)
posted by neurodoc at 2:16 PM on May 14, 2004


No more disturbing than having more education makes you more likely to vote for a Democrat. As humbe says, it raises the possibility of bias in higher education.

Or it indicates that the typical graduate, who has left his hometown, associated with a variety of people he normally would never have met, was challenged by new ideas and opinions, and otherwise generally came to realize that there's a lot of variety out there and no single best answer... votes Democratic.

At least that's how it works for me. I left my hick town filled with pinheaded bigots and untravelled rednecks, and entered a community that had me meeting people from around the world, with life experiences my hometown folk couldn't even begin to imagine. It was eye-opening.
posted by five fresh fish at 2:21 PM on May 14, 2004


Here in the triangle (Raleigh-Durham, NC), there's a lot of PhD's from the Research Triangle Park nearby, so that probably skews the results quite a bit. But hey, they're still here, I guess. Let me assure you that having a lot of degreed people doesn't mean you have less stupid people, if I can snark for a moment.
posted by oog at 3:19 PM on May 14, 2004


I don't care if we're not on the list. Good ol' Charlottesville, VA is still the best city in which to live in America.

(Assuming you're white. And a democrat. And don't mind the traffic.)

Just saying, there's a lot of problems in every city, and no single metric is going to tell you where the best place is in the country.
posted by thecaddy at 3:37 PM on May 14, 2004


Interesting look based on County Level
posted by stbalbach at 5:28 PM on May 14, 2004


This goes a long way towards explaining the job market in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro.

It also explains why I know so many people with bachelor's degrees working in customer service jobs.
posted by Electric Elf at 6:23 PM on May 14, 2004


I left my hick town filled with pinheaded bigots and untravelled rednecks, and entered a community that had me meeting people from around the world, with life experiences my hometown folk couldn't even begin to imagine. It was eye-opening.

Oh the irony. Time to step off that ladder and look up the meaning of bigot.

It's always good to know what you are and its obvious its been a long time since you looked in the mirror.
posted by justgary at 12:09 AM on May 15, 2004


My hometown is a community where people who are suspected of being queer are beat to pulp, where the local judge was raping children, where hookers line the downtown streets, and that used to be known as "helltown" during the 1970s.

Bigoted? Yah, I guess: bigoted against rednecks, perverts, and the violence-is-the-solution culture of my hometown.

Bad FFFish. No cookie.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:11 AM on May 15, 2004


You can spin it anyway you like. A bigot is a bigot is a bigot.

I've known plenty of "rednecks", as I'm sure you would call them in your black and white world, who have travelled quite a bit.

Of course, that doesn't fit your stereotype, and they would probably stick out like a sore thumb in your perfect new home where bigotry simply doesn't exist (proof of a miracle)!

So you can have your cookie, and you can keep your nose high above all them "hookers" if it makes you feel better.

After all, bigots gotta eat too ;) You enjoy that cookie.
posted by justgary at 12:44 PM on May 15, 2004


Whatever, justgary. The straight guy who was beat with pipes and spent a half-year in coma because a bunch of drunk assholes thought he might be queer pretty much defines my hometown for me. So does the judge who was raping underage girls who had passed through the courtroom.

Maybe you'd embrace that sort of mentality. I despise it.

Probably all this is is that you've got a real issue with the word "redneck," interpreting it to mean something other than what I mean. Could well be that you consider yourself some sort of redneck. Whatever.

Suffice to say, I loathe the mentality of many of the people that were around where I grew up and I'm ever so grateful that I had the opportunity to leave it. If that makes me a bigot, I guess there are two types of bigots: the ones that beat and rape people, and the ones who hate the ones that beat and rape people.
posted by five fresh fish at 1:10 PM on May 15, 2004


« Older genuine compassion   |   outsource the 2004 election!!!!! Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post