Though often divided by different shades of blue, Durham and Chapel Hill were considered one recently when ranked among the 10 most-educated areas in America.
The neighboring college towns jointly ranked No. 4 in a list of the most-educated cities in the nation’s 150 largest metropolitan statistical areas, according to personal-finance website WalletHub.
North Carolina also had a ranking among the 10 least-educated: The Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton area came in 143rd.
Raleigh ranked 15th on the list, well ahead of the 71st-ranked Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia area.
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For the report, analysts used data from the U.S. Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, GreatSchools.org and U.S. News & World Report to compare “educational attainment” and “quality of educations and attainment gap.” Nine metrics were considered, including share of adults ages 25 and older with a bachelor’s degree or higher, racial education gap and quality of the public school system.
The top-10 cities were Ann Arbor, Mich.; Washington, D.C.; San Jose, Calif.; Durham-Chapel Hill; Madison, Wis.; Boston; Provo, Utah; San Francisco; Austin, Texas; and Tallahassee, Fla.
Eight of the bottom 10 were in California (Salinas, Fresno, Modesta, Bakersfield, Visalia) and Texas (Beaumont, Brownfield, McAllen).
Durham-Chapel Hill had the third-highest percentage of graduate or professional degree holders.
The Fayetteville area, which ranked 102nd overall, and Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton were among the lowest for average university quality.
Other North Carolina metro areas in the report were Asheville (ranked 62nd), Winston-Salem (101st, tied for fourth for highest average university quality), and Greensboro-High Point (106th).