posted December 6, 2010

Holland Ranked among “Smartest” Cities Based on Education

Hope's hometown of Holland is among the nation's "smartest" cities according to a recent study by Portfolio.com.

Holland ranks in the top fifth of the country -- 62nd out of 366 metropolitan areas --for "strongest collective brainpower" as indicated by residents' educational attainment.

All of the highly ranked communities in the study are home to institutions of higher education, most hosting large universities with graduate schools.  Only seven metro areas with populations smaller than Holland's, all home to institutions with graduate programs, ranked ahead of the community.

To determine the rankings, Portfolio.com established scores for five levels of educational attainment, based on the relative earning power of adult workers 25 and older:  dropped out before high school graduation; stopped at high school diploma; stopped at associate degree or attended college without graduating; stopped at bachelor's degree; and earned graduate and/or professional degree.  The scores in the resulting "Brainpower index" range from a high of 3.941 to a low of negative 2.558.  Holland scored 0.406, with 60 percent of the population having pursued at least some education after high school.

Boulder, Colo., topped the listing of the top 200.  The other communities in the top 10 are:  Ann Arbor; Washington, D.C.; Durham, N.C.; Fort Collins, Colo.; Bridgeport-Stamford, Conn.; San Jose, Calif.; Boston, Mass.; Madison, Wis.; and San Francisco-Oakland, Calif.

In addition to Holland and Ann Arbor, the Michigan communities on the list are:  Lansing (30th), Kalamazoo (56th), Detroit (104th), Grand Rapids (109th) and Flint (163rd).

Portfolio.com notes that all data used in the study came from the 2009 American Community Survey released by the U.S. Census Bureau in September of this year.  Additional information about the rankings, and a link to a pdf of the entire list, can be found online at:  http://www.portfolio.com/special-reports/2010/12/01/methodology-of-portf...

Earlier this year, Holland was celebrated in two other national studies as an outstanding community.  Rankings announced in June by Portfolio.com/bizjournals placed Holland sixth nationally among 109 medium-size communities for its high quality of life.  The 2009 "Gallup-Healthways Well Being Index" (WBI) released in February ranked Holland-Grand Haven (which are grouped together as a Metropolitan Statistical Area by the U.S. Census Bureau) ranked second in the nation out of some 185 cities nationwide for overall well-being, with the community placing first within the subcategories of physical health and basic access to necessities.