OffBeat

These are the 100 smartest cities in America (study)

Above: Downtown Ithaca, N.Y.

Image Credit: Paul Sableman/Flickr

Ithaca, N.Y. is a relatively small college town, but one thing that might make up for its size is its brain power. That’s because Ithaca tops a new list from Lumosity that ranks U.S. cities by their raw cognitive performance.

San Francisco-based Lumosity creates brain-training exercises and has raised more than $70 million in funding to date from Discovery Communications, Menlo Ventures, and others. Since it launched back in 2007, Lumosity claims to have amassed the world’s largest dataset of human cognitive performance, with data and insights collected from more than 40 million people.


Related: MIT, Harvard, & Stanford top list of 50 smartest colleges in America


The study released today (PDF) used data from more than 3 million people in the U.S. between the ages of 18 and 75 who had played several Lumosity brain-training games. These games measured performance across five cognitive areas: memory, processing speed, flexibility, attention, and problem solving. Then the scores were ranked by location.

Many of the cities and towns on the list, not surprisingly, are prominent “college towns.” Ithaca, N.Y., the top of the list, is home to both Cornell University and Ithaca College. State College, Penn. number two, is home to Penn State. Lafeyette, Ind., number three, is home to Purdue University.

“One of the most interesting findings from this analysis is that most of the top metro areas contain major research universities, suggesting that education is an important predictor of cognitive performance,” Lumosity data scientist Daniel Sternberg said in a statement. “Neuroscience research has found that those who are engaged in learning and cognitively stimulating activities throughout the lifetime build up a ‘cognitive reserve’ that helps maintain and improve cognitive performance.”

Check out the top 100 list of “America’s smartest cities” below to see if your town made the cut.

1. Ithaca, NY
2. State College, PA
3. Lafayette-West Lafayette, IN
4. Iowa City, IA
5. Ames, IA
6. Ann Arbor, MI
7. Bloomington, IN
8. Madison, WI
9. Lawrence, KS
10. Pullman, WA
11. College Station-Bryan, TX
12. Appleton, WI
13. Champaign-Urbana, IL
14. Blacksburg-Christiansburg-Radford, VA
15. Charlottesville, VA
16. Boulder, CO
17. Provo-Orem, UT
18. Harrisonburg, VA
19. Rolla, MO
20. Houghton, MI
21. Muncie, IN
22. Corvallis, OR
23. Boone, NC
24. Logan, UT-ID
25. Stillwater, OK
26. Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI
27. Claremont-Lebanon, NH-VT
28. Lebanon, PA
29. Moscow, ID
30. Cedar Rapids, IA
31. Lincoln, NE
32. Bloomsburg-Berwick, PA
33. Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI
34. Starkville, MS
35. Athens, OH
36. La Crosse-Onalaska, WI-MN
37. Brainerd, MN
38. Burlington-South Burlington, VT
39. Fargo, ND-MN
40. Stevens Point, WI
41. Columbia, MO
42. St. Cloud, MN
43. Rochester, MN
44. Auburn-Opelika, AL
45. Waterloo-Cedar Falls, IA
46. Oil City, PA
47. Fort Collins, CO
48. Sheboygan, WI
49. Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH
50. Keene, NH
51. Oshkosh-Neenah, WI
52. Burlington, NC
53. Pittsburgh, PA
54. Fond du Lac, WI
55. Concord, NH
56. Morgantown, WV
57. Bellingham, WA
58. Mount Pleasant, MI
59. Ottawa-Peru, IL
60. Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson, IN
61. Laramie, WY
62. Barnstable Town, MA
63. Lancaster, PA
64. Reading, PA
65. Winchester, VA-WV
66. Bozeman, MT
67. Bloomington, IL
68 Gainesville, FL
69. Duluth, MN-WI
70. Michigan City-La Porte, IN
71. South Bend-Mishawaka, IN-MI
72. Des Moines-West Des Moines, IA
73. Omaha-Council Bluffs, NE-IA
74. Oxford, MS
75. Altoona, PA
76. Wooster, OH
77. Bismarck, ND
78. Grand Forks, ND-MN
79. Grand Rapids-Wyoming, MI
80. Albany-Schenectady-Troy, NY
81. Binghamton, NY
82. Harrisburg-Carlisle, PA
83. Wisconsin Rapids-Marshfield, WI
84. Ogdensburg-Massena, NY
85. Kansas City, MO-KS
86. San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles-Arroyo Grande, CA
87. Torrington, CT
88. Trenton, NJ
89. Rochester, NY
90. Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA
91. Oneonta, NY
92. Eau Claire, WI
93. Warsaw, IN
94. Norwich-New London, CT
95. Eugene, OR
96. Topeka, KS
97. Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton, PA-NJ
98. Mankato-North Mankato, MN
99. Helena, MT
100. Cincinnati, OH-KY-IN

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