Brain gain: The leading cities aren’t who you might think

by Ryan Streeter on August 10, 2012. Follow Ryan on Twitter.

Brainpower is spreading out. The notion that companies seeking skilled labor have to go to one of the “hip” cities — an idea relentlessly marketed by the New York and D.C.-based press — appears greatly overstated. In reality, skilled, college-educated people are increasingly now scattered throughout the country, and often not where you’d expect them. For example, Charlotte, N.C., Columbus, Ohio, Kansas City and Atlanta now boast about the same per capita number of college grads as Portland and Chicago, and have higher per capita concentrations of grads over the age of 25 than Los Angeles.

That’s Joel Kotkin, in his latest Forbes column, doing what he does best: challenging conventional wisdom about the geography of opportunity. Read the whole thing and see the rankings here.

This is consistent with the thesis I outlined in this column, based on a study I did with Kotkin, on why cities should worry more about brain gain than brain drain.