Study: Houghton is 20th-smartest U.S. city

HOUGHTON – According to a study released earlier this week, Houghton is the 20th-smartest city in America.

Lumosity, a San Francisco-based company that creates online brain-training exercises (, released Tuesday findings from their second annual “Smartest Cities 2013” study of more than 3 million users. Houghton is ranked No. 20 among 478 qualifying “Core-based Statistical Areas,” a U.S. Office of Management and Budget category that includes an urban center of at least 10,000 people, along with adjacent areas that are socioeconomically tied to the urban center via commuting.

“One of the most interesting findings from this analysis is that most of the top metro areas contain major research universities, suggesting that education is an important predictor of cognitive performance,” said Daniel Sternberg, Lumosity data scientist, in a statement.

Michigan Technological University is located in Houghton, and several other top-20 cities are home to prominent universities as well. Ithaca, N.Y. was ranked No. 1 and is home to Cornell University and Ithaca College; State College, Penn. was No. 2, and is home to Penn State. Lafayette, Ind. is No. 3, and is home to Purdue University. Ann Arbor, Mich., home of the University of Michigan, is No. 6.

Since launching in 2007, Lumosity claims to have amassed the world’s largest and continuously growing dataset of human cognitive performance, tracking more than 40 million people for up to six years. To be included in the “Smartest Cities 2013” analysis, a user must have played at least one game in each of five Lumosity “brain areas”: speed, attention, flexibility, memory and problem solving.

Users must also have provided their date of birth and gender. A minimum sample size of 500 users from each area (tracked via IP addresses) was required to be included in the rankings. In all, 3,385,648 users between the ages 15 and 85 were factored in.

Houghton’s specific rankings, by cognitive area among the 478 CBSAs, were: No. 6 in memory, No. 9 in speed, No. 47 in attention, No. 48 in problem solving and outside the top 50 in flexibility. Houghton was also No. 27 among 544 eligible CBSAs for the age group under 35.

To view the full 39-page PDF of study methodology and results, visit