Fairfield County No. 3 most educated region in nation

The New York times ran an interesting piece Wednesday, which examined the brain drain as it relates to former industrial hubs throughout the country. It noted that many cities in the rust bet, like Dayton Ohio, are home significantly fewer college graduates than the national average. For instance, 24 percent of Dayton resident have a college degree, which sets is well below the average of 32 percent of residents in America’s metro areas.

Here’s how the New York Times contextualized that brain drain:

Dayton sits on one side of a growing divide among American cities, in which a small number of metro areas vacuum up a large number of college graduates, and the rest struggle to keep those they have.

The winners are metro areas like Raleigh, N.C., San Francisco and Stamford, Conn.,where more than 40 percent of the adult residents have college degrees. The Raleigh area has a booming technology sector and several major research universities; San Francisco has been a magnet for college graduates for decades; and metropolitan Stamford draws highly educated workers from white-collar professions in New York like finance.

The article uses data from the Brookings Institution, which identifies Stamford by its metro area, which happens to include every town in Fairfield County (I learned that a few weeks ago for this story, which used Brookings data).

A screenshot of the rankings published by the New York Times Wednesday

According to the Times report, and a chart that ran along with the story (which you can sneak a peek at over there on the right), Fairfield County has the third highest concentration of college-educated residents living in its metro area: 44 percent. It trails the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria area, which comes in first with 46.8 percent of its population holding a degree and San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, where 45.3 percent of residents hold a degree and is directly followed by San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont at 43.4 percent and Madison, WI at 43.3 percent to round out the top five.

Connecticut makes two other appearances on the Top 100 list: The Hartford metro area is No. 15 with 34.6 percent of residents with a college education and New Haven-Milford came in at No. 32 with 32.8 percent.

Fairfield County also had the fourth largest growth among all of the top 100 metro areas in the country between 1970 and 2010. Its 26.4 percentage point leap from an in which 17.6 percent of residents had a college degree in 1970, to a place where 44 percent earned a diploma in 2010 was outpaced slightly by the San Francisco metro area (26.5 percentage points), Raleigh, N.C. (27.7 percentage points) and Boston (28.8 percentage points).

Maggie Gordon