Reston named top ‘brainy’ retirement destination

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By Gregg MacDonald
Source: Fairfax County Times
Charles and Harriet Todd, both 85 years old, moved to Reston from Connecticut in 1975, when they were 52. “I got a job with the World Bank in Washington and I knew that their mandatory retirement age was 62,” said Charles Todd. “So we wanted to move to a place where we could stay when I retired.”

When told on Monday that Reston had recently been named by U.S. News and World Report as one of the top 10 ‘brainiest’ places to retire in the U.S., Harriet Todd jokingly exclaimed, “Oh no, does that mean we have to move?”

It turns out that the Todds actually fit very well into Reston’s demographic profile.

According to, 93 percent of Reston’s population over the age of 25 have achieved an educational level of high school or higher, with 63 percent achieving a bachelor’s degree or higher.

Although Reston is considerably smaller than — and technically not — a city, its 63 percent representation of college graduates far surpasses the 53 percent in Seattle, which tops the list of America’s most educated cities according to a recent survey by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Included in U.S. News’ picks for retirement destinations that attract highly educated people are Berkeley, Calif. and Chapel Hill, N.C., both renowned as being academic epicenters boasting world-famous universities.

While Reston does not have one of those, it does contain several satellite campuses, and seven universities with student populations over 2,000 — including George Washington and George Mason — are all within 20 miles.

“It is actually more complicated than that,” said Penny Pompei, president of the Reston Chamber of Commerce. “Some of the major multi-national firms in the world are also here, like Accenture, Oracle and Miscrosoft. They are able to hire the best and bring them to Reston. Reston is a perfect nucleus with access to Dulles Airport, proximity to the federal government and the fact that it is a live-work-play planned community.”

City-Data lists professional, scientific and technical services as the top Reston industry for both men and women.

“We like it,” Charles Todd said. “Reston has a lot of good restaurants and our neighbors are nice — and smart. What more do you need?”

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