Posted by: mostwanted | Thursday, September 4, 2008

How Smart is Austin, TX?

I was just reading up some articles on wikipedia when I came upon a reference link directing me to the Central Connecticut State University that ranked the 69 biggest cities in America with a population over 250k as “America’s Most Literate Cities”. Not sure how credible or biased it is but their methodology for rankings makes some sense and gives us an idea of how many American cities are doing in academia.

Being here for a few years in the heart of central Texas Hill Country, working & living in and growing with this High Tech Capital, a fast paced and liberal, a forward and progressive thinking and very Modern Austin city, also known as the “Silicon Hills” around here; I had real high hopes. I mean it’s home to the flagship University of Texas at Austin – one of the most prestigious public schools in science, engineering & technology. It has many Fortune 500 and Fortune 1000 companies including headquarters. But it turns out according to CCSU Austin is ranked 23rd overall in their latest 2007 reiteration of “America’s Most Literate Cities”. Surprisingly low rank for a city that has one of the largest public universities in the nation and is highly regarded not just in the US but all over the world. And is known to produce many many quality, world class graduates year after year who stay and work in the city that always has a high demand for white collar workers. It’s a big drop from its ’05 & ’06 overall respective ranking of 16th best in the nation.  Anyways, here’s a summary of the stats broken down into categories:-

* Last year, Austin ranked 18.5 in terms of “Booksellers” or the number of bookstores (per 10k population) in the city, barely improving upon its ’06 ranking of 19th which itself barely improved from its ’05 ranking of 20th. It was ranked 22nd in ’04.

* It ranked 17th in “Education Level” that measures the percentage of adult population with HS diploma or higher and bachelors degree or higher; another TX city, that of Plano, a suburb of Dallas/Ft. Worth, came in at 2nd in the same category although it was 51st overall. Austin was ranked 19.5 in ’06, 17th in ’05 and 21st in ’04 in this category.

* In the next category “Internet Resources”, Austin ranked 38th which represented a HUGE drop just from the previous year where it ranked 8th best. Which itself was a big drop from ’05 when Austin ranked 3rd best.

* In the “Libraries” category Austin ranked 36th being beat out by Plano and Dallas just a few spots higher up. Representing a fall from 31.5 place in ranking the year before and 33rd place in ’05. But atleast its better then its ’04 ranking of 42nd.

* Next up the “Newspaper” circulation category, while it has been steadily improving from year to year it’s nothing to write home about yet so I wont mention it. The ranking, however, is understandable considering the smaller size of the city and the metro area compared to many others in the list.

* In the last Periodical “Publishers” category, Austin held a steady and sturdy rank of 15.5. Once again understandable for the size of the city/surroundings and (fewer) number of research based universities or learning centers in the area. It ranked 14.5 in both ’06 and ’05. And it ranked 12th in the first iteration of these sort of rankings back in ’04.

Like I said I’m a bit surprised, I expected Austin to be doing a little bit better, but as these rankings and numbers go there are just so many variables and outlying factors to contend with. In any case, I’m still very proud of this Capital of Texas city, for what it is, for what it stands and for where its headed. It really is a fresh city, booming not only in things like Nano-Biotechnology & IT but also in finance/investments especially from people moving into the area making it their new home, and some housing/real estate/infrastructure development as well from what I’ve seen and heard. Heck the latest million dollar winner, the first one on the NBC hit show Deal or No Deal with Howie Mandel plans to move to Austin, TX from there home in Utah; following the footsteps of many many other citizens of this great city who make this city an awesome place to be at. [News Story] 🙂

Some other interesting facts and figures about the ATX – it is the capital in the U.S. state of Texas and the seat of Travis County. Situated in Central Texas, it is the fourth-largest city in Texas and the 16th-largest in the United States of America, as well as the third fastest growing large city in the nation from 2000 to 2006. As of the 2007 U.S. Census estimate, Austin proper had a population of 743,074. The city is the cultural and economic center of the Greater Austin metropolitan area with a population of about 1.6 million people which ranks in the mid 30s for all metros in the US. It is also home to the Texas State Capitol, advertised as the 7th largest building in the world when it was completed in 1888, it has been the biggest State Capitol building of any state in the US only dwarfed by the National Capitol building in Washington DC.

Austin was selected as the #1 Best Big City in “Best Places to Live” by Money magazine in 2006, and the “Greenest City in America” by MSN. Also, according to CNN Headline News and Travel & Leisure Magazine: Austin ranks #2 on the list of cities with the “Best People” referring to the eclectic personalities and attributes of it’s citizens aka “Austinites”. Austin was also voted America’s #1 Best College Town by the Travel Channel. Lastly, Austin was ranked the 5th Safest City of the US in part because there are fewer than 3 people per 100,000 murdered annually. Austin’s official slogan promotes the city as “The Live Music Capital of the World”, a reference to its status as home to many musicians and music venues.

Austin is the largest city in the United States without a franchise team in a major professional sports league. Austin is also the largest city in the United States to be served by only one Interstate Highway ~ I-35.

I leave you with another Panaromic View of the Austin Skyline, this time a night-time view.


  1. some more great reasons to live in austin –

  2. The Live Music Capital of the World is Austin’s official slogan having a vibrant live music scene with quite a lot of music venues. Austin is the capital of Texas and a breeding place of film, music and multimedia festivals. It is famous for its nightclubs, unconventional lifestyle and diverse beliefs. People in Austin take pride in their eccentricity and diverse culture with a local motto of “Keep Austin Weird”. It is well known for the popular culture and support for local and independent businesses. It has also been a favorite site for several motion pictures partly because of the Department of Radio-Television Film course in The University of Texas at Austin. Museums, art establishments, music centers, zoo, resorts and other tourist attractions are also located all over the city.

  3. some more info about this great city –

  4. Beautiful Austin, TX:

    and back in 1840:

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