If you’ve ever wondered which cities have the highest concentration of the world’s brainiest, look no further – The Atlantic’s City Lab has unveiled which cities have the most top universities.
A team of researchers from the University of Toronto’s Martin Prosperity Institute (MPI) sifted through data and found that, unsurprisingly, many leading universities are in the United States, Canada, and Western Europe, “with a sprinkling in Asia and Australia”.
“There are virtually no leading universities in big parts of the Global South, including Africa and South America, or in much of Eastern Europe and Central Asia,” said MPI director Richard Florida.
The two metropolises with the most high-ranking universities are Los Angeles and London, with four universities each – however, Los Angeles has the edge over London, thanks to Caltech (2) and UCLA (14).
The team also expanded their dataset to include the top 500 universities globally to see how the diffusion changed in terms of geography, which saw London, Paris, and Seoul emerge as the top three cities, with 15, 12, and eight universities in the top 500 respectively.
However, when researchers examined the distribution of the top 500 universities per million people, and only including global metros with at least five top institutions in it, a surprise contender rose to the top: Stockholm, with 3.365 universities per million people.
In second and third place were Melbourne (1.665 universities per million) and Boston-Cambridge (1.507) respectively, with each having seven leading universities.
Florida went on to conclude that most of the Global South did not have a high concentration of prominent universities.
“For this reason, these places continue to export their talent to the world’s leading knowledge clusters,” he explained.
“In this increasingly spiky world, not only does the economic divide separating the world’s leading cities and metro regions from the rest continue to widen, the gap in knowledge generation and talent attraction – two critical functions of top universities – grows wider still,” he added.