Oct 18, 2023 - News

Atlanta ranks among America's smartest cities in new study

Illustration of a golden apple on a stack of books.

Illustration: Lindsey Bailey/Axios

Atlanta is the nation's second most educated city, according to a new report from Forbes Advisor.

Why it matters: Wage data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found that workers with bachelor's degrees earn nearly 68% more than those with only a high school diploma.

  • The most educated cities, Forbes says, produce more innovation and tax revenue, which attracts companies and ultimately leads to higher concentrations of educated residents.

Details: Forbes analyzed high school dropout and college graduation rates, undergraduate and advanced degree attainment rates, and the racial and gender inequities in degree completion rates to rank the nation's 100 most educated cities.

By the numbers: Nearly 60% of Atlanta residents hold a bachelor's degree, and more than 25% have a graduate degree.

  • 13% of residents have some college experience without a degree.
  • About 7% of residents are high school dropouts.
  • Atlanta's educational attainment gender gap is less than 1%.

What Forbes says about Atlanta: "Home to major colleges like Emory University, Georgia Institute of Technology and Georgia State University, it's no surprise that Atlanta is a highly educated city."

Yes, but: "Atlanta does report a wide racial gap in bachelor's degree attainment: more than 20%," Forbes notes.

Meanwhile, Arlington, Virginia, came on top as the nation's most educated city — and nearby Washington, D.C. ranked right behind Atlanta at third place.

  • Arlington also happens to be home to Axios headquarters.
  • Atlanta also beat Austin, Texas and Madison, Wisconsin for the No. 2 ranking.
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