On the inaugural Bloomberg index, Boulder headed the list of all U.S. cities with populations greater than 90,000.
The Bloomberg Brain Concentration Index tracks business formation as well as employment and education in the sciences, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM.
A second Colorado college town, Fort Collins, landed in the No. 12 position for 2019. Bloomberg’s data shows Fort Collins’ workforce is made up of 4.6 percent STEM job holders, 13.4 percent science and engineering degree holders, and 12.8 percent advanced degree holders.
Though California’s Bay Area has long been a magnet for technology professionals and tech hub for companies like Apple, Facebook and Google parent Alphabet, data suggests a trend is afoot. Regional college towns have continued to rise in the annual brain power index since its debut in 2016.
Today, Boulder leads a growing pack of thriving smaller hubs that continue to make gains in attracting STEM workers. Often the home of a major university, these metros are coming on strong, catching up to Silicon Valley hot spots San Jose and San Francisco and the epicenter of federal funding, Washington D.C.
College towns making big gains this year include No. 3 ranked Ann Arbor Michigan, home to the University of Michigan; No. 6 ranked Ithaca, New York, site of Cornell University, and No. 19 ranked Lawrence, Kansas, featuring the University of Kansas.
Here are the top five on the 2019 Bloomberg Brain Concentration Index:
1. Boulder, CO
STEM job holders: 8.1%
Science and engineering degree holders: 19.5%
Advanced degree holders: 18.5%
2. San Jose, CA
STEM job holders: 10.2%
Science and engineering degree holders: 21.1%
Advanced degree holders: 17.3%
3. Ann Arbor, MI
STEM job holders: 6.6%
Science and engineering degree holders: 15.5%
Advanced degree holders: 18.3%
4. Washington, DC
STEM job holders: 6.4%
Science and engineering degree holders: 15.8%
Advanced degree holders: 17.4%
5. San Francisco, CA
STEM job holders: 6.6%
Science and engineering degree holders: 17.6%
Advanced degree holders: 15.3%
Read the full report at bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-11-18/kansas-draws-enough-brain-power-to-make-it-a-top-tech-hubn.
The Bloomberg Brain Concentration Index tracks the highest density areas of so-called STEM workers among other metrics. Each city is scored out of 100 based on three criteria: how many people have jobs in STEM, science and engineering degrees, and advanced degrees. All three metrics are expressed as a percentage of the population of the city. The data goes up to 2018 and was pulled from the U.S. Census report.
By Tom Kalinski. Tom is the broker/owner of RE/MAX of Boulder, the local residential real estate company he established in 1977. He was inducted into Boulder County’s Business Hall of Fame in 2016 and has a 40-year background in commercial and residential real estate. For questions, e-mail Tom at firstname.lastname@example.org, call 303.441.5620 or visit boulderco.com.
SOURCE: Bloomberg analysis of U.S. Census 1Y ACS data.