Bethesda and Chevy Chase have been named among the smartest cities in the U.S. before. Now, a website has ranked Bethesda as “the most educated place in America,” by weighing the level of education of residents.
NerdWallett.com, a site that compares credit cards, used U.S. Census data on the percentage of the population to finish high school, get an associate’s degree, bachelor’s degree, master’s degree and professional or doctoral degrees.
The website weighed the percentage of residents 25 and over who have finished high school or have an associate’s degree at their highest level of education for 30 percent of the overall score. The percentage of residents with a bachelor’s degree made up another 30 percent of the score.
Higher degrees made up the last 40 percent, a way the website says the ranking measures “broad-based education,” not a workforce, “where some workers are very highly educated.”
Still, it’s clear the area’s highly-educated population played a role in the No. 1 ranking:
Bethesda is home to the main campuses of the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (where the president gets his yearly check-up), the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences and the National Institutes of Health, whose research has helped create hundreds of thousands of biomedical jobs both in Bethesda and around the country. Numerous government, technology, healthcare and investment companies, including Lockheed Martin, GetWellNetwork, and Cambridge Information Group, have headquarters in Bethesda, making it a hotspot for workers in these fields. A whopping 27.3% of the city’s population has a professional or doctoral degree as their highest level of education, and another 26.8% of the population has a master’s degree as their highest level of education. Only 1.9% of the population did not finish high school. The wide variety of technical and challenging work in Bethesda ensures a continued supply of well-educated workers.
Bethesda beat out Palo Alto, Calif. and Wellesley, Mass., for the top spot. Potomac was ranked No. 5.