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3. Colorado
Colorado's ski slopes like Copper Mountain (pictured) are a big lure for residents.

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."

NEXT: Connecticut
Source: Workforce education rankings are from the Kauffman Foundation's 2010 State New Economy Index. Using U.S. Census Data, Kauffman created a weighted score reflecting four different education-level statistics for each state: the percentage of the population (age 25 and older) that has less than a high-school degree, some college, a Bachelor's degree, or a Master's or professional degree. The organization's state-by-state rankings reflect those weighted scores.
LAST UPDATE: Feb 24 2011 | 3:10 PM ET
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