17th (out of 55)
No, it's not a real IQ test of every man, woman and child, but the Daily Beast's 2010 "Smartest Cities — From First to Worst" has two parts: education (those over age 25 with bachelor's and master's degrees compared to the overall metro population) and intellectual environment (libraries, higher education institutions and nonfiction book sales). The addition of a "civic engagement quotient" in 2010 — a city's willingness and ability to invest in intellectual culture — helped lift Cleveland from its 2009 finish of 31st.
High School Graduates
If this were a test, we'd be near the middle of the grading curve with 87.7 percent of us finishing high school. Sure we're right with Cincinnati, Indianapolis and Sacramento, but a C+ isn't going to cut it, not when other Midwestern cities such as Minneapolis (No. 1) and Pittsburgh (No. 3) are at the head of the class. Grade deflation: Los Angeles and Riverside, Calif., are the only two major cities with a high school graduation rate below 80 percent.
Blame our manufacturing past, when factory jobs didn't require a bachelor's. But if we're going to thrive in the new economy, we have to get more than 26.9 percent of Greater Clevelanders through college. By degrees: More than 40 percent of people in Washington, D.C.; Boston; Raleigh, N.C.; and the Bay Area have bachelor's degrees, and even Midwestern cities such as St. Louis and Cincinnati are doing better than we are.