The following chart is from City Observatory. It compares per capita income against the college attainment rate for the largest US metropolitan areas. If you hover over a circle it’ll tell you the metro area and what the precise numbers are. If you can’t see the chart below, click here.
What they found from this data set is that educational attainment – the percentage of the population with a 4-year college degree – is the single most important factor when it comes to urban economic success. In fact, according to City Observatory, it accounts for 60% of the variation in per capita income across the metro areas listed above. That’s huge.
So even though people like Peter Thiel might be encouraging kids to drop out of College and start a company, having a well-educated population is a really important thing for cities. Actually, it’s the most important thing.