By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great local journalism.
Study ranks Cumming among most educated places in U.S.
Schools

To see the entire Progress 2016 edition, click here.

Forsyth County often fares well in studies. The area is known to be consistently named among the wealthiest and healthiest in the state and nation, so the most recent distinction likely will come as little surprise to most residents.

Cumming is the 41st most educated place in the United States, according to a recent study by Degree Query.

Almost always boasting high levels of economic opportunity, entrepreneurship, cultural offerings, successful schools and quality of life, these most-educated areas — 50 of them were listed in the study — are said to be the “nicest.”

“While there are a number of rankings on the topic online that all contribute their own glimpse into what an educated city looks like, we feel that many of these rankings are missing out,” the study reports.

“Many of America’s most educated places don’t fit into individual cities within a certain size range, but are rather comprised of dense clusters of interconnected towns, often the suburbs of larger metropolises.”

Cumming, identified as a commuters’ satellite city of Atlanta, houses “most of the 116,454 people over age 25” living in Forsyth County. The area covered refers to anyone with a Cumming mailing address, not just those who live within the city limits.

Of those people, 43.8 percent hold a bachelor’s degree or higher, according to the study.

“It’s the primary driver, I think, in what sustains us as a community economically,” said James McCoy, president and CEO of the Cumming-Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce.

“The folks who are highly educated, who are here, are willing to contribute to make the investment that’s needed to keep this a really high-quality-of-life place to live.”

Other contributing factors in the study were the area’s six high schools — including the online iAchieve Virtual Academy — and a University of North Georgia campus; the Georgia Department of Labor and franchise stores for Pizza Hut and Petsmart as top employers; and being the county seat for the wealthiest county in Georgia.

“It creates a very vibrant economy. Folks who have higher education levels tend to make more money, and therefore they’re also spending more money,” McCoy said.

“The kind of companies we attract tend to look for a higher education level in their employees … People want to be in a place where there’s prosperity.”

As the study noted, many Cumming residents commute to work in larger nearby cities — Alpharetta, Atlanta and Duluth — encompassing cultural offerings in those areas, too, “as well as Lake Lanier, a popular summer destination for fishing and other watersports.

Cumming is also home to many small-town, annual events and festivals, including the county fair, a farmer’s market and a rodeo.”

“Communities are a system,” McCoy said. “All of these things that we enjoy in our community, from the parks and rec to a phenomenal hospital and a great health care system, or whether it’s the huge investment that is being made in improving our transportation structure, and world-class schools that have world-class results and world-class students with world-class teachers and administrators, it’s what the community expects and is willing to invest in.”

That willingness to invest must come from all levels, he said.

“From electing public officials who support the growth and investment of our schools and parks and rec and roads to our SPLOST initiatives,” he said. “We’ve passed every [1-cent sales tax] initiative this community has put forth, and this community voted by 64 percent to increase its taxes to pay for better transportation.”

Other Georgia areas ranked in the study were Marietta at 42 and Atlanta at 24. Arlington, Va., held the No. 1. spot.

For the full study, visit degreequery.com.