Washington, D.C. is the smartest city in the U.S. According to 2010 Census Bureau data, Washington – with all its government-related jobs – had the highest percentage of residents age 25 and older with college degrees or higher – 47.3%. Cosmopolitan San Francisco ranked second with 43.5% and San Jose, the center of Silicon Valley, ranked third with 43.2%. The three cities with the lowest number of degrees were Riverside, CA with 19.2%, Las Vegas with 21.5% and Memphis with 24.2%. However, the national average for degrees was 25% – meaning we’re not too smart for our own good.
Washington, D.C. also had the highest salaries of any major U.S. city with a median household income of $85,198. Again, this was due to the government and it being a stable employer. However, D.C.’s income was basically flat. San Antonio was the only major city with an increase in median income – 0.5% to $47,698. This was primarily due to the city not being part of the housing bubble. Detroit, with the cutbacks in car manufacturing, had the biggest drop in median income – 10% to $48,535. Nationally income dropped 2.1% to $50,221- leaving many without enough income for outgo.
The highest property taxes in the U.S. were in New Jersey with a median of $6,579. According to the Tax Foundation’s analysis of Census Bureau data, Connecticut was second with $4,738 and New Hampshire was third with $4,636. The lowest property taxes were in Louisiana with a median of $243, followed by Alabama with $398 and West Virginia with $464. Property taxes are determined by demands for government services and revenues available to pay for them. Louisiana’s oil and gas revenues help keep its property taxes low. The state taxes oil extractors, which raises the price of gasoline. Thus Americans are “driving” down Louisiana’s property taxes.
Finally, fewer young people are getting married nationwide. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, only 45% of 25-to-34 year olds were in married relationships in 2010. In 2000 it was 55% and in the 1960’s it was more than 80%. Marriage has become an economic decision. Couples may live together, but they aren’t getting married until they can see a strong economic future. The number of couples living together is steadily increasing, but they are counted as single people. However, those single people are having babies. In 2008 41% of U.S. births were out of wedlock – and in “cohabit-in-g”.