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Smartest states? Colorado's number three! But you knew that already...

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Yes, it's the latest meaningless survey that still somehow makes us feel good about ourselves. The Kauffman Foundation has declared Colorado to be America's third smartest state, behind only Massachusetts and Maryland -- both of which are kinda stuck up, frankly. Look below for the Colorado salute, which mentions lots of good things about the state, plus, for some reason, Crocs.

Colorado:

Residents with advanced degrees: 12.5% of population

Residents with some college education: 64.5%

"You can never underestimate the great quality of life in Colorado, and that has something to do with attracting people," says Matt Cheroutes, director of communications for the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade. The mountains -- good for skiing and hiking -- and clear blue sky make Colorado an alluring place to study, do research or launch a startup.

The state houses four research universities: the University of Colorado, Colorado State University, Colorado School of Mines, and the University of Northern Colorado. Jobs in the aerospace industry, bioscience, and IT draw in natives and migrants from elsewhere in the U.S.

It's not all tech, though: Colorado has a track record of launching quirky companies. Shoe maker Crocs was born in the state and is still headquartered there, as is sporting retailer Sports Authority.

"I think it is about a culture that we have in Colorado," Cheroutes says. "Our independent nature, our rugged resourcefulness, and our entrepreneurial spirit, which, frankly, is what the West was founded on."

More from our News archive: "Boulder named America's brainiest city: Guess all that weed doesn't make people stupid after all."

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