Many regions across the U.S. are experiencing a “brain drain” as young talent moves away in search of jobs. Three cities in Colorado are experiencing the exact opposite. According to the Bloomberg Brain Concentration Index, Boulder, Fort Collins, and Denver are among the top-10 career destinations in the country, with Boulder taking the #1 spot nationally. The Index ranks the top cities in the nation for business formation as well as, employment and education in the sciences, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Cities that were once considered isolated old mining and cow towns just 25 or 30 years ago are now major technology hubs that attract the country’s best and brightest talent in droves.
The Northern Colorado Economic Alliance describes the northern Front Range region as “nerdy and proud of it,” with major universities sprouting a vibrant, highly educated workforce. The U.S. Census Bureau backs it up, noting that 38.1 percent of Colorado’s adult population holds a bachelor’s degree or higher, placing Colorado #2 in the nation for undergraduate degrees, and #7 for advanced degrees. That, plus statewide unemployment of just 2.5 percent—second lowest in the country—helps explain the “brain gain” taking place across the Front Range.
2017 Bloomberg Brain Concentration Index: Top Ten
Metro areas with at least 10,000 population were assessed on their concentration of full-time STEM workforce, advanced degree or Science and Engineering undergraduate degree holders, and net business formation.
Source: U.S. Census
Notes: Positive counts of net establishment contributed to an MSA’s brain concentration score whereas negative counts reduced the score; 3Y average used to measure the outflow of advanced degree holders and net establishment change; as of 2016 data for all except for establishments w CoreLogic hich are as of 2015.