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The Daily Tar Heel
View from the Hill

At least we're smarter than Durham

Ever heard of Marvin, North Carolina? 

If your answer was no, maybe you should consider relocating — because according to a list compiled by Zippia, a California-based career services company, it is the smartest city in North Carolina. 

Zippia ranked 132 North Carolina cities with populations large enough to be considered, or those with more than 5,000 residents. Chapel Hill made the top ten, ranking tenth. Apex came in sixth.

Raleigh ranked number 45, Charlotte number 57 and Durham number 60.

“I wasn’t too surprised at who made the list,” said John McLean, Zippia marketing associate. “I know that the first city on there is pretty small and of course it’s no surprise that Apex (and) Chapel Hill … ranked because they’re close to the Triangle and known for being another tiny powerful state.”

Using data from the U.S. Census, Zippia assembled the list using the percentage of adults aged 25 and over with a high school degree and the percentage of high school dropout in each city. 

Chapel Hill ranked well because only 4.5 percent of people in Chapel Hill do not have a high school diploma and only 0.6 percent are high school dropout, according to Zippia.

McLean said Zippia's rankings — ranging from "Ten Smartest Cities in North Carolina" to "Ten Laziest Places in Kansas" — grew out of increased access to data on which the lists could be compiled. The rankings are meant to guide employees and employers in considering locations when choosing a career.

“If you’re applying for jobs in North Carolina and you hear back and one of them is on the list of smartest cities, it may help you sway your decision one way or another,” he said. “Knowing the people who you work with or the places where you work at is labelled as a smart city might affect your decision.”

Disparities in high school graduation and dropout rates vary by city — some may have a zero percent dropout rate while other have a much higher percentage.

McLean said the reasons for the disparities come down to the system of public education available and accessibly to residents.

“The main reason would be having a better composed and organized education system. Education is pretty important and it can vary pretty greatly place to place,” McLean said.

Bigger cities tend to have more schools in comparison to smaller ones, which can lead to less resources per school and less flexibility in choosing educators due to the high demand of employees.

“I’m sure that affects student educations and their experiences in schools,” McLean said.

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