Over in The Atlantic, this article appears that compares cities by density of degreed people. I was delighted to find the included link to the actual spreadsheet data used to create the prominent graphic associated with the report. After reading it I wanted to perform my own analysis.
When reading the article my immediate reaction was “Of course that is the outcome, but it does not demonstrate anything useful.” Which is why I was glad to find the raw data. My reasoning goes like this:
- The highest “rated” cities in the report also appear to be the cities having overall highest population density.
- I would expect that in cities having a high density of population to have a high density of degreed people.
- This would only be useful if I believed that the distribution of educated people is linear.
A much more interesting analysis, in my opinion, would contrast the density of the city to the density of the educated in that city. So I did my own analysis using the same input data, assuming that would be a valid starting point.
Here is the graph of my own analysis. Lower is better.
What the analysis tells me is that a city like Seattle is a good place to be if you want to meet more educated people per population density. And Detroit ranks at the bottom.