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Education and economic prosperity

One of the things that I would like to do a bit more of in 2016 is coding. I used to a bit of it in high school and university, and I’ve taken some online classes since then, but I really feel like I should know more. I like making things and tech is clearly an important part of the world today.

I mention this because I have signed myself up for an intro to web development class this evening at Brainstation. My plan is to do a few introductory web and mobile development courses and then figure out where and what I want to dive into further. I don’t plan on being a software developer – I’m happy being a developer of the real estate varietal – but I want to improve my literacy.

I also mention this because I think it’s important to be reminded just how critical education is to urban economic success. Here’s an excerpt from Ed Glaeser’s book, Triumph of the City:

“Human capital, far more than physical infrastructure, explains which cities succeed. Typically in the United States, the share of the population with a college degree is used to estimate the skill level of a place … Despite its coarseness, no other measure does better in explaining recent urban prosperity. A 10 percent increase in the percentage of an area’s adult population with a BA in 1980 predicts 6 percent more income growth between 1980 and 2000.”

And if you plot education (people with four-year degrees) vs. per capita income levels for the major US metropolitan areas, which City Observatory did, you’ll see that nothing matters more. Here’s how City Observatory described it:

“This chart is the first, most important thing to remember about urban economic development in the 21st century: if you want high incomes, you need to have a high level of skills. Cities with poorly educated populations will find it difficult to raise living standards in a world where productivity and pay depend increasingly on knowledge.”

This, of course, isn’t new information. I’m sure I’ve written about it before. But it doesn’t hurt to be reminded.

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