dc is smart

Another interesting article in this month’s issue of the The Atlantic summarizes research by Christopher Berry of the University of Chicago and Edward Glaeser of Harvard. Author Richard Florida, Hirst Professor of Public Policy at George Mason University, points to their work on "The Divergence of Human Capital Levels across Cities" to support his observations on a "mass relocation of highly skilled, highly educated, and highly paid Americans to a relatively small number of metropolitan regions, and a corresponding exodus of the traditional lower and middle classes from these same places."

"In 1970 human capital was distributed relatively evenly throughout the United States. Nationally, 11% of the population over twenty-five years old had a college degree, and that figure ranged between 9 % and 13% in fully half of America’s 318 metropolitan regions. In Washington, D.C., 18% of the residents had finished college; in Cleveland, only 4 percent had finished…

Over the past three decades, the percentage of Americans holding a college degree has more than doubled, reaching 27 percent by 2004, but as the maps below show, those gains have not been evenly spread. For instance, about half of the residents of Washington, D.C., and San Francisco now have college degrees—versus 14 percent and 11 percent in Cleveland and Detroit respectively. The trends for graduate degrees show a similar pattern. In Washington, D.C., and Seattle, more than 20 percent of the adult population had an advanced degree in 2004, compared with 5 percent in Cleveland, 4 percent in Detroit, and 2 percent in Newark. In the downtown neighborhoods of high-powered cities, the concentration of well-educated people is even greater"

The upside to being in DC is that all these smart people interacting with each other creates a lot of economic prosperity. The author points out broader social implications – but the challenge, as I see it, is that the job market in this area becomes even more challenging if you want to distinguish yourself from the competition. Guess I need to get that MBA after all…

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