Some Chicago Suburbs Make List of Most Educated Cities in the U.S.

The highest ranking Chicago suburb is Northbrook, which takes the No. 19 spot on the list

Chicago may not be the smartest city in the U.S., but some of its neighboring suburbs have been recognized for their residents' collective intellect.

Finance website NerdWallet conducted its annual study of the "most educated places in America" for 2015. The top cities were chosen based on analysis of U.S. Census data on residents' education level. NerdWallet analyzed more than 2,000 places and created two lists: the 100 most educated places in the U.S. and the most educated large cities.

Chicago did not make the list of the 100 most educated places, but a few area suburbs claimed a spot.

The highest ranking Chicago suburb is Northbrook, which takes the No. 19 spot on the list. The suburb has a remarkably high number of residents with professional degrees with 10.9 percent of them fitting this category. Northbrook also has a high number of residents with high school diplomas — 97.4 percent.

Another 69.3 percent of Northbrook residents have bachelor's degrees, 18.1 percent have master's degrees and 3.1 percent have doctorates.

Evanston and Oak Park follow closely behind Northbrook in the No. 24 and No. 25 spots, respectively.

Five more Chicago suburbs made the top 100 list — Naperville (57), Libertyville (62), Buffalo Grove (73), Glenview (76) and Wheaton (92).

Not surprisingly several college towns — Evanston included — appeared in the top 100 list, but they do not dominate the list. The East Coast and Silicon Valley claim the most top spots, with the D.C. area coming off as the most educated part of the country. Three D.C.-area cities made the top 10 — Bethesda, Maryland (1), Potomac, Maryland (2), and McLean, Virginia (5).

On the list of most educated large cities, Chicago comes in at No. 53, with 81.4 percent of its residents with high school diplomas and 34.4 percent of residents with bachelor's degrees.

Compared to the top-rated large city — Arlington, Virginia — Chicago's numbers are relatively low. In Arlington, 93.4 percent of residents have high school diplomas and a whopping 72.1 percent have bachelor's degrees.

Chicago fared worse than some large Midwestern cities, such as Madison, Wisconsin (3), Minneapolis (13) and Omaha, Nebraska (40). But it ranked higher than others, including St. Louis (60), Indianapolis (73), Milwaukee (91), and Detroit (105).

The top 10 most educated large cities are, in order, Arlington, Virginia; Irvine, California; Madison, Wisconsin; Seattle, Washington; Scottsdale, Arizona; Washington, D.C.; Plano, Texas; Fremont, California; San Francisco, California; and Atlanta, Georgia.

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