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Bay Area Cities Ranked Most Educated In U.S., But Don't Get Smug About It

South Bay wrecks regional curb

Congratulations, Bay Area: You’re some of the smartest people in the country. Or, more precisely, some of the most educated, as the finance website WalletHub reckons.

In its rankings of 150 major metro areas, the site dubbed the South Bay third in the nation in terms of erudition, and the general San Francisco/East Bay region came in at number seven.

San Jose was the most consistent city, scoring equally as well in the number of people holding degrees and in the quality of nearby universities. San Francisco, on the other hand, came in a respectable eighth place in degrees, but only managed 48th for schools. Maybe that’ll keep us from getting big heads about it.

Every city received a grade on a 100 point scale: Up to 20 points for the number of adults with a high school diploma, 20 more for people with associate degrees, and so on for both Bachelor's and post-grad degrees.

WalletHub graded regional schools on public school rankings and university quality, number of students per capita, and the size of the gap between men and women holding degrees, as well as between racial demographics. San Francisco’s managed an overall score of 69.91; San Jose, 77.39.

But as any good graduate will tell you, no two analyses are ever likely to yield the exact same results.

New York-based data analysis firm ValuePenguin evaluated 200 cities on similar (but not identical) standards earlier this year and declared San Jose first in the nation, as opposed to the WalletHub champ Ann Arbor, Michigan. ValuePenguin also ranked San Francisco third overall.

On the other hand, in 2015, NerdWallet (not to be confused with WalletHub, despite their similar wallet themes) used census data to provide more city-specific education rankings that left both San Francisco and San Jose completely out of the action.

Palo Alto and Cupertino were the only California cities to crack NerdWallet’s top ten, although San Francisco did come in number nine on a separate ranking that focused only on major cities.

Of course, a true scholar doesn’t need the validation of rankings and polls to know how smart he or she is. A quality education speaks for itself. Still, better first than last on any ladder, right?